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SOLATION 1  By  Blessed 
JOHN  FISHER,  Bp  and  Martyr 



SAN  DIEGO       ; 








From  a  Dimviiig-  by  Holheiii  in  tJie  fin'tish  Museum 


and  other  Treatifes.  By  the  Bleffed 

Martyr  lohn  Fijber,  B^  of  Roche- 

fter.     Edited  by -D.  O'Connor  jf>^j^ 

ART  &  BOOK  COMPANY,  Paternoster 
Row,  LONDON  e^j*  and  LEAMINGTON 


Nihil  obstat : 

Dns  Beda  Camm,  O.S.B. 

Imprimatar : 

►J^  EDUARDUS  Epus  Birmingham. 

Die  3g  Aprilis,  igoj. 


A  DESIRE  to  see  Blessed  John  Fisher  better 
known  and  appreciated  as  a  spiritual  writer 
has  prompted  the  publication  of  these  small 
treatises.  They  present  him  in  a  new  light, 
and  any  one  familiar  with  the  writings  of 
St  Francis  de  Sales  will,  after  perusal  of  this 
little  book,  gladly  corroborate  Canon  Mackey's 
statement  that,  "  had  Fisher  lived  in  happier 
times,  he  himself  would  have  been  another 
St  Francis  de  Sales."* 

The  Spiritual  Consolation  and  Ways  to 
Perfect  Religion  were  written  during  his  im- 
prisonment in  the  Tower,  and  addressed  to 
his  sister  Elizabeth,  a  Dominican  nun  at  Dart- 
ford  in  Kent. 

The  exact  date  on  which  the  Sermon  on  the 
Passion  was  preached  is  uncertain  ;  it  was  first 
published  in  London  in  1535,  the  very  year  of 
his  martyrdom. 

The  present  edition  has  a  spiritual,  not  a 

*  Cf.  Preface  to  "  Letters  to  Persons  in  the  World  " 
by  St  Francis  de  Sales,  edited  by  Canon  Mackey, 
O.S.B.,  p.  xi. 


critical,  object,  and,  consequently,  any  neces- 
sary annotation  has  been  kept  within  narrow 
compass.  The  spelling  and  punctuation  have 
been  modified,  and  a  modern  equivalent  occa- 
sionally substituted  for  some  quite  obsolete 
word.  Reference  to  the  Scripture  texts  has  not, 
save  in  a  few  cases,  been  given,  as  Fisher 
generally  quotes  from  memory. 

Those  who  desire  to  make  further  acquain- 
tance with  Blessed  John  Fisher  as  an  author 
may  be  referred  to  the  volume  of  the  Early 
English  Text  Society  (Vol.  27,  Extra  Series, 
1876)  The  English  Works  of  John  Fisher,  Bishop 
of  Rochester^  Part  I,  edited  with  great  care  by 
Professor  E.  B.  Mayor,  of  St  John's  College, 

The  beauty  of  the  treatises  is  their  best 
recommendation;  they  cannot  fail  to  increase 
in  the  reader  an  ardent  love  of  God  and  devo- 
tion to  the  holy  martyr. 

D.  O'C. 
Feast  of  Si  Stephen  Harding^ 
April  jgoj. 



A  Spiritual  Consolation        i 

The  Ways  to  Perfect  Religion        19 

A  Sermon  :  Lamentationes,  Carmen,  et  vae       ...  59 

IT  A  fpirituall  Confola- 

tion,  written  by  lohn  Fyffher, 

JBifboppe  of   Rochefter,  to   bgs   Sifter 

}BU3abetb,  at  fucbe  tgme  as  bee  waa 

priConec  in  tbe  ^owev  of  Uonc^on.    Der^ 

neceirare,  anD  commot)ious  for  all  tbofe 

tbat  mgntJe  to  leaDe  a  vertuous  Igfe : 

Blfo  to  aOmonifb  tbem,   to  be  at  all 

tfimes  prepared  to  Oge,  and  eeemetb  to  \)cc 

fpoken  in  tbe  perfon  of  one  tbat 

wae  soDainlg  preve* 

teD  be  Deatb 

2  Corinthians,  vj. 

Beholde  nov)  ij  the  acceptable  tyme 
now  is  the  day  of  jaluation. 

Mathew,  xxiiij. 

Watch  therefore ,  for  ye  know  not  what 
hour  your  Lorde  doeth  come. 

A  Spiritual  Consolation 

Written  by  John  Fisher,  Bishop  of  Rochester, 
to  his  Sister  Elizabeth 

Sister  Elizabeth,  nothing  doth  more  help  effec- 
tually to  get  a  good  and  a  virtuous  life  than  if 
a  soul,  when  it  is  dull  and  unlusty  without 
devotion,  neither  disposed  to  prayer  nor  to  any 
other  good  work,  may  be  stirred  or  quickened 
again  by  fruitful  meditation.  I  have  therefore 
devised  unto  you  this  meditation  that  followeth, 
praying  you  for  my  sake  and  for  the  weal  of 
your  own  soul,  to  read  it  at  such  times  as  you 
shall  feel  yourself  most  heavy  and  slothful  to  do 
any  good  work.  It  is  a  manner  of  lamentation 
and  sorrowful  complaining  made  in  the  person 
of  one  that  was  hastily  prevented  by  death  (as 
I  assure  you  every  creature  may  be) :  none  other 
surety  we  have,  living  in  this  world  here. 

But  if  you  will  have  any  profit  by  reading 
of  it,  three  things  you  must  do  in  anywise.    First, 



when  you  shall  read  this  meditation,  devise 
in  your  mind  as  nigh  as  you  can  all  the 
conditions  of  a  man  or  woman  suddenly  taken 
and  ravished  by  death;  and  think  with  yourself 
that  ye  were  in  the  same  condition  so  hastily 
taken  and  that  incontinent  you  must  needs  die, 
and  your  soul  depart  hence  and  leave  your 
mortal  body,  never  to  return  again  for  to  make 
any  amends,  or  to  do  any  release  to  your  soul 
after  this  hour. 

Secondly,  that  ye  never  read  this  medita- 
tion but  alone  by  yourself  in  secret  manner, 
where  you  may  be  most  attentive  thereunto, 
and  when  ye  have  the  best  leisure  without  any 
let  of  other  thoughts  or  business.  For  if  you 
otherwise  behave  yourself  in  the  reading  of  it, 
it  shall  anon  lose  the  virtue  and  quickness  in 
stirring  and  moving  of  your  soul  when  you 
would  ratherest  have  it  stirred. 

Thirdly,  that  when  you  intend  to  read  it, 
you  must  afore  lift  up  your  mind  to  Almighty 
God  and  beseech  Him  that,  by  the  help  and 
succour  of  His  grace,  the  reading  thereof  may 
fruitfully  work  in  your  soul  a  good  and  virtuous 
life  according  to  His  pleasure,  and  say  :  Veus 
in  adjutorium  meum  intende^  Do?nine  ad  adju- 
vandtim  vie  festina.  Gloria  Fahi,  etc.  Laus 
tiU  Domifie  Rex  ceternae  gloriae.     Amen. 


A  LAS,  alas,  I  am  unworthily  taken,  all  sud- 
denly  death  hath  assailed  me,  the  pains 
of  his  stroke  be  so  sore  and  grievous  that  I 
may  not  long  endure  them ;  my  last  hour,  I 
perceive  well,  is  come  j  I  must  now  leave  this 
mortal  body ;  I  must  now  depart  hence  out 
of  this  world  never  to  return  again  into  it.  But 
whither  I  shall  go,  or  where  I  shall  become,  or 
what  lodging  I  shall  have  this  night,  or  in 
what  company  I  shall  fall,  or  in  what  coun- 
try I  shall  be  received,  or  in  what  manner 
I  shall  be  treated,  God  knoweth,  for  I  know 
not.  What  if  I  shall  be  damned  in  the  per- 
petual prison  of  hell,  where  be  pains  endless 
and  without  number  ?  Grievous  it  shall  be  to 
them  that  be  damned  for  ever,  for  they  shall 
be  as  men  in  most  extreme  pains  of  death, 
ever  wishing  and  desiring  death,  and  yet  never 
shall  they  die.  It  should  be  now  unto  me 
much  weary,  one  year  continually  to  lie  upon 
a  bed  were  it  never  so  soft;  how  weary  then 
shall  it  be  to  lie  in  the  most  painful  fire  so 
many  thousands  of  years  without  number  ;  and 
to  be  in  that  most  horrible  company  of  devils 
most  terrible  to  behold,  full  of  malice  and 
cruelty  ? 

O  wretched  and  miserable  creature  that  I 
am,  I   might  so   have  lived   and  so  ordered 


my  life  by  the  help  and  grace  of  my  Lord 
Christ  Jesus,  that  this  hour  might  have  been 
unto  me  much  joyous  and  greatly  desired. 
Many  blessed  and  holy  saints  were  full  joyous 
and  desirous  of  this  hour,  for  they  knew  well 
that  by  death  their  souls  should  be  translated 
into  a  new  life;  to  the  life  of  all  joy  and  endless 
pleasure,  from  the  straits  and  bondage  of  this 
corruptible  body  into  a  very  liberty  and  true 
freedom  among  the  company  of  heaven,  from 
the  miseries  and  grievances  of  this  wretched 
world,  to  be  above  with  God  in  comfort  ines- 
timable that  cannot  be  spoken  nor  thought. 
They  were  assured  of  the  promises  of  Almighty 
God,  which  had  so  promised  to  all  them  that 
be  His  faithful  servants  ;  and  sure  I  am  that  if 
I  had  truly  and  faithfully  served  Him  unto  this 
hour,  my  soul  had  been  partner  of  these  pro- 

But  unhappy  and  ungracious  creature  that 
I  am,  I  have  been  negligent  in  His  service, 
and  therefore  now  my  heart  doth  waste  in 
sorrows  seeing  the  nighness  of  death,  and  con- 
sidering my  great  sloth  and  negligence.  I 
thought  full  little  thus  suddenly  to  have  been 
trapped  ;  but,  alas,  now  death  hath  prevented 
me,  and  hath  unwarily  attacked  me  and  sud- 
denly oppressed  me  with  his  mighty  power,  so 


that  I  know  not  whither  I  may  turn  me  for 
succour,  nor  where  I  may  seek  now  for  help, 
nor  what  thing  I  may  do  to  get  any  remedy. 
If  I  might  have  leisure  and  space  to  repent 
me  and  amend  my  life,  not  compelled  with  this 
sudden  stroke  but  of  my  own  free  will  and 
liberty,  and  partly  for  the  love  of  God,  putting 
aside  all  sloth  and  negligence,  I  might  then 
safely  die  without  any  dread ;  I  might  then 
be  glad  to  depart  hence  and  leave  my  manifold 
miseries  and  encumbrances  of  this  world.  But 
how  may  I  think  that  my  repentance  or  mine 
amendment  cometh  now  of  mine  own  free  will, 
since  I  was  before  this  stroke  so  cold  and  dull 
in  the  service  of  my  Lord  God  ?  Or  how  may 
I  think  that  I  do  this  more  rather  for  His  love 
than  for  fear  of  His  punishment,  when,  if  I  had 
truly  loved  Him,  I  should  more  quickly  and 
more  diligently  have  served  Him  heretofore? 
Me  seemeth  now  that  I  cast  away  my  sloth  and 
negligence,  compelled  by  force.  Even  as  a 
merchant  that  is  compelled  by  a  great  tempest 
in  the  sea  to  cast  his  merchandise  out  of  the 
ship,  it  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  he  would 
cast  away  his  riches  of  his  own  free  will,  not 
compelled  by  the  storm.  And  even  so  like- 
wise do  I :  if  this  tempest  of  death  were  not  now 
raised  upon  me,  it  is  full  like  that  I  would  not 


have  cast  from  me  my  sloth  and  negligence. 
O  would  to  God  that  I  might  have  now  some 
farther  respite,  and  some  longer  time  to  amend 
myself  of  my  free  will  and  liberty.  O  if  I 
might  entreat  death  to  spare  me  for  a  season  : 
but  that  will  not  be;  death  in  no  wise  will 
be  entreated;  delay  he  will  none  take;  res- 
pite he  will  none  give,  if  I  would  give  him 
all  the  riches  of  this  world;  no,  if  all  my 
lovers  and  friends  would  fall  upon  their  knees 
and  pray  him  for  me.  No,  if  I  and  they  would 
weep  (if  it  were  so  possible)  as  many  tears  as 
there  be  in  the  seas  drops  of  water,  no  pity  may 
restrain  him.  Alas,  when  opportunity  of  time 
was,  I  would  not  use  it  well,  which,  if  I  had 
done,  it  would  now  be  unto  me  more  precious 
than  all  the  treasures  of  a  realm.  For  then  my 
soul  as  now  should  have  been  clothed  with 
good  works  innumerable,  the  which  should 
make  me  not  to  be  ashamed  when  I  should 
come  to  the  presence  of  my  Lord  God,  where 
now  I  shall  appear  laden  with  sin  miserably,  to 
my  confusion  and  shame.  But,  alas,  too  negli- 
gently have  I  let  pass  from  me  my  time,  not 
regarding  how  precious  it  was,  nor  yet  how 
much  spiritual  riches  I  might  have  got  therein, 
if  I  would  have  put  my  diligence  and  study 


For  assuredly  no  deed  that  is,  be  it 
never  so  little,  but  it  shall  be  rewarded  of 
Almighty  God.  One  draught  of  water  given  for 
the  love  of  God  shall  not  be  unrewarded,  and 
what  is  more  easy  to  be  given  than  water?  But 
not  only  deeds,  but  also  the  least  words  and 
thoughts  shall  be  in  like  wise  rewarded.  O 
how  many  good  thoughts,  deeds,  works,  might 
one  think,  speak  and  do  in  one  day  ?  But  how 
many  more  in  one  whole  year?  O  alas,  my 
great  negligence  !  O  alas,  my  foul  blindness  ! 
O  alas,  my  sinful  madness  that  knew  this  well, 
and   would  not  put  it  in  eifectual  execution  ! 

0  if  now  all  the  people  of  this  world  were 
present  here  to  see  and  know  the  perilous  con- 
dition that  I  am  in,  and  how  I  am  prevented  by 
the  stroke  of  death,  I  would  exhort  to  take  me 
as  an  example  to  them  all,  and  while  they  have 
leisure  and  time,  to  order  their  lives  and  cast 
from  them  sloth  and  idleness,  and  to  repent 
them  of  their  misbehaviour  towards  God,  and  to 
bewail  their  offences,  to  multiply  good  works 
and  to  let  no  time  pass  by  them  unfruitfully. 
For  if  it  shall  please  my  Lord  God  that  I  might 
any  longer  live,  I  would  otherwise  exercise  my- 
self than  I  have  done  before.     Now  I  wish  that 

1  may  have  time  and  space,  but  righteously  I 
am  denied,  for  when  I  might   have  had  it  I 


would  not  well  use  it ;  and,  therefore,  now  when 
I  would  well  use  it,  I  shall  not  have  it. 

O  ye,  therefore,  that  have  and  may  use  this 
precious  time  in  your  liberty,  employ  it  well,  and 
be  not  too  wasteful  thereof,  lest,  peradventure, 
when  you  would  have  it,  it  shall  be  denied  you 
likewise,  as  now  it  is  to  me.  But  now  I  repent  me 
full  sore  of  my  great  negligence,  and  right  much 
I  sorrow  that  so  little  I  regarded  the  wealth  and 
profit  of  my  soul,  but  rather  took  heed  to  the 
vain  comforts  and  pleasures  of  my  wretched 
body.  O  corruptible  body  !  O  stinking  car- 
rion !  O  rotten  earth,  to  whom  I  have  served, 
whose  appetites  I  have  followed,  whose  desire  I 
have  procured,  now  dost  thou  appear  what  thou 
art  in  thy  own  likeness  !  That  brightness  of 
thy  eyes,  that  quickness  in  hearing,  that  liveli- 
ness in  thy  other  senses  by  natural  warmness, 
thy  swiftness  and  nimbleness,  thy  fairness  and 
beauty  ;  all  these  thou  hast  not  of  thyself,  they 
were  but  lent  unto  thee  for  a  season,  even  as  a 
wall  of  earth  that  is  fair  painted  without  for  a 
season  with  fresh  and  goodly  colours,  and  also 
gilded  with  gold,  it  appeareth  goodly  for  the 
time  to  such  as  consider  no  deeper  than  the 
outward  craft  thereof;  but  when  at  the  last  the 
colour  faileth  and  the  gilding  falleth  away,  then 
appeareth  it  in  his  own  likeness ;  for  then  the 


earth  plainly  showeth  itself.  In  like  wise  my 
wretched  body,  for  the  time  of  youth  it  appear- 
eth  fresh  and  lusty,  and  I  was  deceived  with  the 
outward  beauty  thereof,  little  considering  what 
naughtiness  was  covered  underneath  ;  but  now 
it  showeth  itself. 

Now  my  wretched  body,  thy  beauty  is 
faded,  thy  fairness  is  gone,  thy  lust,  thy 
strength,  thy  loveliness  all  is  gone,  all  is 
failed;  now  art  thou  returned  to  thine  own 
earthly  colour ;  now  art  thou  black,  cold  and 
heavy,  like  a  lump  of  earth  ;  thy  sight  is  dark- 
ened, thy  hearing  is  dulled,  thy  tongue  faltereth 
in  thy  mouth,  and  corruption  issueth  out  of 
every  part  of  thee;  corruption  was  thy  begin- 
ning in  the  womb  of  thy  mother,  and  corruption 
is  thy  continuance.  All  things  that  ever  thou 
receivest,  were  it  never  so  precious,  thou  turnest 
into  corruption  ;  and  naught  came  from  thee  at 
any  time  but  corruption,  and  now  to  corruption 
thyself  returnest :  altogether  right  vile  and 
loathly  art  thou  become,  where  in  appearance 
before  thou  wast  goodly:  but  the  good  lines  was 
nothing  else  but  as  a  painting  or  a  gilding  upon 
an  earthen  wall ;  under  it  was  covered  with 
stinking  and  filthy  matter.  But  I  looked  not  so 
deep,  I  contented  myself  with  the  outward 
painting,  and  in  that  I  took  great  pleasure ;  for 


all  my  study  and  care  was  about  thee,  either  to 
apparel  thee  with  some  clothes  of  divers  colours, 
either  to  satisfy  thy  desire  in  pleasant  sights,  in 
delectable  hearings,  in  goodly  smells,  in  sundry 
manner  of  tastings  and  touchings,  either  else  to 
get  thee  ease  and  rest  as  well  in  sleep  as  other- 
wise. And  I  provided,  therefore,  pleasant  and 
delectable  lodgings,  and  to  eschew  tediousness 
in  all  these,  not  only  lodgings,  but  also  in 
apparel,  meats  and  drinks  procured  many  and 
divers  changes,  that  when  thou  wast  weary  of 
one  then  mightest  thou  content  thyself  with 
some  other.  Oh,  alas,  this  was  my  vain  and 
naughty  study  whereunto  my  wit  was  ready 
applied,  in  those  things  I  spent  the  most  part  of 
my  days.  And  yet  was  I  never  content  long, 
but  murmuring  or  grudging  every  hour  for  one 
thing  or  other. 

And  what  am  I  now  the  better  for  all 
this?  What  reward  may  I  look  for  of  all 
my  long  service  ?  or  what  great  benefits  shall  I 
receive  for  all  my  great  study,  care  and  dili- 
gence ?  Nothing  better  am  I,  but  much 
the  worse ;  much  corruption  and  filth  my 
soul  thereby  hath  gathered,  so  that  now 
it  is  made  full  horrible  and  loathly  to  behold, 
-Reward  get  I  none  other  than  punishment, 
either  in  hell  everlasting   or  at  the    least   in 


purgatory,  if  I  may  so  easily  escape.  The 
benefits  of  my  labour  are  the  great  cares  and 
sorrows  which  I  now  am  wrapped  in.  May 
not  I  think  my  wit  to  have  been  well  occupied 
in  this  lewd  *  and  unfruitful  business  ?  Have 
I  not  well  bestowed  my  labour  about  this  ser- 
vice of  my  wretched  body  ?  Hath  not  my  time 
been  well  employed  in  these  miserable  studies, 
whereof  now  no  comfort  remaineth,  but  only 
sorrow  and  repentance  ?  Alas,  I  heard  full  often 
that  such  as  should  be  damned  should  grievously 
repent  themselves  and  take  more  displeasure  of 
their  misbehaviour  than  ever  they  had  pleasure 
before.  And  yet  that  repentance  then  should 
stand  them  in  no  stead,  where  a  full  little  re- 
pentance taken  in  time  might  have  eased  them 
of  all  their  pains. 

This  I  heard  and  read  full  often,  but  full 
little  heed  or  regard  I  gave  thereunto  ;  I  well 
perceived  it  in  myself,  but  all  too  late,  I  dread 
me.  I  would  that  now,  by  the  example  of  me, 
all  others  might  beware,  and  avoid  by  the 
gracious  help  of  God  these  dangers  that  I  now 
am  in,  and  prepare  themselves  against  the  hour 
of  death  better  than  I  have  prepared  me. 
Alas,  what  availeth  me   now  any  delicacy  of 

*  Light  or  frivolous. 


meats  and  drinks  which  my  wretched  body 
insatiable  did  devour?  What  availeth  my 
vanity  or  pride  that  I  had  in  myself  either  of 
apparel  or  of  any  other  thing  belonging  unto  me  ? 
What  availeth  the  filthy  and  unclean  delights 
and  lusts  of  the  stinking  flesh,  wherein  was 
appearance  of  much  pleasure,  but  in  very  deed 
none  other  than  the  sow  hath,  waltering  *  her- 
self in  the  miry  puddle  ?  Now  these  pleasures 
be  gone,  my  body  is  nothing  better,  my  soul 
is  much  the  worse,  and  nothing  remaineth  but 
sorrow  and  displeasure,  and  that  a  thousandfold 
more  than  ever  I  had  any  pleasure  before. 

O  lewd  body  and  naughty,  which  hast  brought 
me  to  this  utter  discomfort ;  O  dirty  corruption  ; 

0  sachell  f  full  of  dung,  now  must  I  go  to 
make  answer  for  thy  lewdness  ;  thy  lewdness, 

1  say,  for  it  all  cometh  of  thee.  My  soul  had 
nothing  need  of  such  things  as  was  thy  desire  : 
what  need  my  soul  that  is  immortal,  either 
clothing,  or  meat  or  drink?  What  need  it  any 
corruptible  gold  and  silver  ?  What  need  it  any 
houses  or  beds,  or  any  other  things  that  ap- 
pertaineth  to  these  ?  For  thee,  O  corruptible 
body,  which  like  a  rotten  wall  daily  needeth 
reparations    and  botching  up  with    meat   and 

*  Wallowing.         +  Satchel  or  sack. 


drink,  and  defence  of  clothing  against  cold  and 
heat,  was  all  this  study  and  diligence  taken,  and 
yet  now  wilt  thou  forsake  me  at  my  most  need, 
when  account  and  reckoning  of  all  our  mis- 
deeds must  be  given  before  the  throne  of  the 
Judge  most  terrible.  Now  thou  wilt  refuse 
me  and  leave  me  to  the  jeopardy  of  all  this 

O  alas,  many  years  of  deliberation  suffice 
not  before  so  great  a  Judge  to  make  an- 
swer, which*  shall  examine  me  of  every  idle 
word  that  ever  passed  my  mouth.  O  then  how 
many  idle  words,  how  many  evil  thoughts,  how 
many  deeds  have  I  to  make  answer  for !  and 
such  as  we  set  but  at  light,  full  greatly  shall 
be  weighed  in  the  presence  of  His  most  high 
Majesty.  O  alas,  what  may  I  do  to  get  some 
help  at  this  most  dangerous  hour  ?  Where  may 
I  seek  for  succour  ?  Where  may  I  resort  for 
any  comfort  ?  My  body  forsaketh  me,  my 
pleasures  be  vanished  away  as  the  smoke,  my 
goods  will  not  go  with  me.  All  these  worldly 
things  I  must  leave  behind  me ;  if  any  comfort 
shall  be,  either  it  must  be  in  the  prayers  of  my 
friends,  or  in  mine  own  good  deeds  that  I  have 
done  before. 

*  Who. 

14  e^  SPJRJrUAL  CONSOLAriO^i^ 

But  as  for  my  good  deeds  that  should 
be  available  in  the  sight  of  God,  alas,  they 
be  few  or  none  that  I  can  think  to  be 
available;  they  must  be  done  principally  and 
purely  for  His  love.  But  my  deeds,  when  of 
their  kind  they  were  good,  yet  did  I  linger 
them  by  my  folly  ;  for  either  I  did  them  for  the 
pleasure  of  men,  or  to  avoid  the  shame  of  the 
world,  or  else  for  my  own  affection,  or  else  for 
dread  of  punishment ;  so  that  seldom  I  did  any 
good  deed  in  that  purity  and  straightness  that  it 
ought  of  right  to  have  been  done.  And  my 
misdeeds,  my  lewd  deeds  that  be  shameful  and 
abominable,  be  without  number  ;  not  one  day  of 
all  my  life,  no,  not  one  hour  I  trow  was  so  truly 
expended  to  the  pleasure  of  God,  but  many  deeds, 
words  and  thoughts  miscaped  me  in  my  life.  Alas, 
little  trust  then  may  I  have  upon  my  deeds ! 

And  as  for  the  prayers  of  my  friends 
such  as  I  shall  leave  behind  me,  of  them  many 
peradventure  be  in  the  same  need  that  I  am  in; 
so  that  where  their  own  prayers  might  profit 
themselves,  they  cannot  so  profit  another.  And 
many  of  them  will  be  full  negligent,  and  some 
forgetful  of  me,  and  no  marvel :  for  who  should 
have  been  so  friendly  unto  me  than  mine  own 
self?  Therefore  I  that  was  most  bound  to  have 
done  for  myself,  forget  my  own  weal  in  my  life- 


time  ;  no  marvel  therefore  if  others  do  forget  me 
after  my  departing  hence.  Other  friends  there 
be  by  whose  prayers  souls  may  be  helped,  as  by 
the  blessed  and  holy  saints  above  in  heaven, 
which  verily  will  be  mindful  of  such  as  in  earth 
here  have  devoutly  honoured  them  before.  But, 
alas,  I  had  special  devotion  but  to  a  few,  and 
yet  them  I  have  so  faintly  honoured,  and  to 
them  so  coldly  sued  for  favour,  that  I  am 
ashamed  to  ask  aid  or  help  of  them.  At  this 
time  indeed  I  had  more  effectually  meant  to 
have  honoured  them  and  more  diligently  to 
have  commended  my  wretched  soul  unto  their 
prayers,  and  so  to  have  made  them  my  special 
friends;  but  now  death  hath  prevented  me  so,  that 
no  other  hope  remaineth,  but  only  in  the  mercy  of 
my  Lord  God,  to  whose  mercy  I  do  now  offer 
myself,  beseeching  Him  not  to  look  upon  my 
deserts,  but  upon  His  infinite  goodness  and 
abundant  pity. 

Alas,  my  duty  had  been  much  better 
to  have  remembered  this  terrible  hour ;  I 
should  have  had  this  danger  ever  before  my 
eyes ;  I  should  have  provided,  therefore,  so  that 
now  I  might  have  been  in  a  more  readiness 
against  the  coming  of  death,  which  I  knew 
assuredly  would  come  at  the  last,  albeit  I  knew 
not  when,  where,  or  by  what  manner ;  but  well 


I  knew  every  hour  and  moment  was  to  him  in- 
different, and  in  his  Uberty.  And  yet  (my  mad- 
ness ever  to  be  sorrowed),  notwithstanding  this 
certainty  of  his  coming,  and  the  uncertainty  of 
the  time  thereof,  I  made  no  certain  nor  sure 
provision  against  this  hour.  Full  often  I  took 
great  study  and  care  to  provide  for  little  dangers, 
only  because  I  thought  they  might  hap,  and  yet 
happed  they  never  a  deal ;  and  but  trifles  they 
were  in  comparison  of  this.  How  much  rather 
should  I  have  taken  study  and  care  for  this  so 
great  a  danger  which  I  knew  well  must  neces- 
sarily fall  unto  me  once.  For  this  cannot  be 
eschewed  in  no  wise,  and  upon  this  I  ought  to 
have  made  good  provision  ;  for  in  this  hangeth 
all  our  wealth.  For  if  a  man  die  well,  he  shall 
after  his  death  nothing  want  that  he  would  de- 
sire, but  his  appetite  shall  be  satiate  in  every 
point  at  the  full  ;  and  if  he  die  amiss,  no  pro- 
vision shall  avail  him  that  ever  he  made  before. 
This  provision,  therefore,  is  most  effectually 
to  be  studied,  since  this  alone  may  profit  without 
other,  and  without  this  none  can  avail.  O  ye 
that  have  time  and  space  to  make  your  pro- 
vision against  the  hour  of  death,  defer  not  from 
day  to  day  as  I  have  done.  For  I  often  did 
think  and  purpose  with  myself  that  at  some 
leisure  I  would  have  provided;  nevertheless,  for 


every  trifling  business  I  put  it  aside,  and  de- 
layed this  provision  always  to  another  time,  and 
promised  with  myself  that  at  such  a  time  1 
would  not  fail  to  do  it;  but  when  that  came 
another  business  arose,  and  so  I  deferred  it 
again  unto  another  time.  And  so,  alas,  from 
time  to  time,  that  now  death  in  the  meantime 
hath  prevented  me.  My  purpose  was  good,  but 
it  lacked  execution  ;  my  will  was  straight,  but  it 
was  not  effectual ;  my  mind  well  intended,  but 
no  fruit  came  thereof.  All  for  because  I  delayed 
so  often  and  never  put  in  effect  that  that  I  had 
purposed;  and,  therefore,  delay  it  not  as  I  have 
done,  but  before  all  other  business  put  this  first 
in  surety,  which  ought  to  be  chief  and  principal 
business.  Neither  building  of  colleges,  nor 
making  of  sermons,  nor  giving  of  alms,  neither 
yet  any  other  manner  of  business  shall  help  you 
without  this. 

Therefore,  first  and  before  all  things,  pre- 
pare for  this ;  delay  not  in  any  wise,  for  if  you 
do  you  shall  be  deceived  as  I  am  now.  I  read 
of  many,  I  have  heard  of  many,  I  have  known 
many  that  were  disappointed  as  I  am  now. 
And  ever  I  thought  and  said  and  intended  that 
I  would  make  sure  and  not  be  deceived  by  the 
sudden  coming  of  death  ;  yet,  nevertheless,  I 
am    now   deceived,    and   am    taken    sleeping, 


unprepared,  and  that  when  I  least  weened 
of  his  coming,  and  even  when  I  reckoned  my- 
self to  be  in  most  health,  and  when  I  was  most 
busy  and  in  the  midst  of  my  matters.  There- 
fore, delay  not  you  any  farther,  nor  put  your 
trust  overmuch  in  your  friends ;  trust  yourself 
while  ye  have  space  and  liberty,  and  do  for 
yourself  now  while  you  may.  I  would  advise 
you  to  do  that  thing  that  I,  by  the  grace  of  my 
Lord  God,  would  put  in  execution  if  His 
pleasure  were  to  send  me  longer  life.  Account 
yourself  as  dead,  and  think  that  your  souls 
were  in  prison  of  purgatory,  and  that  there 
they  must  abide  till  that  the  ransom  for  them  be 
truly  paid,  either  by  long  sufferance  of  pain 
there,  or  else  by  suffrages  done  here  in  earth  by 
some  of  your  special  friends.  Be  you  your  own 
friend ;  do  you  these  suffrages  for  your  own  soul, 
whether  they  be  prayers  or  almsdeeds  or  any 
other  penitential  painfulness.  If  you  will  not 
effectually  and  heartily  do  these  things  for  your 
own  soul,  look  you  never  that  others  will  do 
them  for  you,  and  in  doing  them  in  your  own 
persons,  they  shall  be  more  available  to  you  a 
thousandfold  than  if  they  were  done  by  any 
other.  If  you  follow  this  counsel  and  do  there- 
after, you  be  gracious  and  blessed,  you  shall 
doubtless  repent  your  follies,  but  too  late. 

The  Ways  to  Perfect  Religion 

Made  by  John  Fisher,  Bishop  of  Rochester, 
being  Prisoner  in  the  Tower  of  London 

Sister  Elizabeth,  gladly  I  would  write  unto 
you  something  that  might  be  to  the  health  of 
your  soul  and  furtherance  of  it  in  holy  religion. 
But  well  I  know  that  without  some  fervour  in 
the  love  of  Christ,  religion  cannot  be  to  you 
savoury,  nor  any  work  of  goodness  can  be 
delectable,  but  every  virtuous  deed  shall  seem 
laborious  and  painful.  For  love  maketh  every 
work  appear  easy  and  pleasant,  though  it  be 
right  displeasant  of  itself.  And  contrariwise 
right  easy  labour  appeareth  grievous  and  pain- 
ful, when  the  soul  of  the  person  that  doeth  the 
deed  hath  no  desire  nor  love  in  doing  of  it. 
This  thing  may  well  appear  by  the  life  of 
hunters,  the  which  out  of  doubt  is  more  labo- 
rious and  painful  than  is  the  life  of  religious 
persons,  and  yet  nothing  sustaineth  them   in 


their  labour  and  pains  but  the  earnest  love  and 
hearty  desire  to  find  their  game.  Regard  no 
less  my  writing,  good  sister,  though  to  my  pur- 
pose I  use  the  example  of  hunters,  for  all  true 
Christian  souls  be  called  hunters,  and  their 
office  and  duty  is  to  seek  and  hunt  for  to  find 
Christ  Jesu.  And,  therefore.  Scripture  in 
many  places  exhorteth  us  to  seek  after  Him, 
and  assureth  that  He  will  be  found  of  them 
that  diligently  seek  after  Him — Invenieiur  ab 
his  qui  quaerunt  eum.  That  is  to  say.  He  will 
be  found  of  them  that  seek  Him  ;  well  happy 
are  all  those  that  can  find  Him,  or  can  have 
any  scent  of  Him  in  this  life  here.  For  that 
scent,  as  St  Paul  saith,  is  the  scent  of  the  very 
life.  And  the  devout  souls,  where  they  feel 
this  scent,  they  run  after  Him  apace — Ciirre- 
mus  in  odorem  unguentorutn  tuorutn.  That  is  to 
say,  we  shall  run  after  the  scent  of  Thy  sweet 
ointments.  Seeing  then  all  devout  souls  may 
be  called  hunters,  I  will  further  prosecute  the 
comparison  made  before  between  the  life  of  the 
hunters  and  the  life  of  the  religious  persons 
after  this  manner. 


A  Comparison  between  the  Life  of  Hunters 
and  the  Life  of  Religious  Persons 

What  life  is  more  painful  and  laborious  of 
itself  than  is  the  life  of  hunters,  which  most 
early  in  the  morning  break  their  sleep  and  rise 
when  others  do  take  their  rest  and  ease  ?  And 
in  his  labour  he  may  use  no  plain  highways  and 
the  soft  grass,  but  he  must  tread  upon  the 
fallows,  run  over  the  hedges  and  creep  through 
the  thick  bushes,  and  cry  all  the  long  day  upon 
his  dogs,  and  so  continue  without  meat  or  drink 
until  the  very  night  drive  him  home.  These 
labours  be  unto  him  pleasant  and  joyous,  for 
the  desire  and  love  that  he  hath  to  see  the  poor 
hare  chased  with  dogs. 

Verily,  verily,  if  he  were  compelled  to  take 
upon  him  such  labours,  and  not  for  this  cause, 
he  would  soon  be  weary  of  them,  thinking  them 
full  tedious  unto  him ;  neither  would  he  rise 
out  of  his  bed  so  soon,  nor  fast  so  long,  nor 
endure  these  other  labours,  unless  he  had  a  very 
love  therein.  For  the  earnest  desire  of  his 
mind  is  so  fixed  upon  his  game  that  all  these 
pains  be  thought  to  him  but  very  pleasures. 
And  therefore  I  may  well  say  that  love  is  the 


principal  thing  that  maketh  any  work  easy, 
though  the  work  be  right  painful  of  itself,  and 
that  without  love  no  labour  can  be  comfortable 
to  the  doer.  The  love  of  his  game  delighteth 
him  so  much  that  he  careth  for  no  worldly 
honour,  but  is  content  with  full  simple  and 
homely  array.  Also  the  goods  of  the  world  he 
seeketh  not  for,  nor  studieth  how  to  attain 
them ;  for  the  love  and  desire  of  his  game 
so  greatly  occupieth  his  mind  and  heart.  The 
pleasures  also  of  his  flesh  he  forgetteth  by 
weariness  and  wasting  of  his  body  in  earnest 
labour.  All  his  mind,  all  his  soul,  is  busied  to 
know  where  the  poor  hare  may  be  found.  Of 
that  is  his  thought,  and  of  that  is  his  commu- 
nication, and  all  his  delight  is  to  hear  and 
speak  of  that  matter,  every  other  matter  but 
this  is  tedious  for  him  to  give  ear  unto ;  in  all 
other  things  he  is  dull  and  unlusty,  in  this  only 
quick  and  stirring;  for  this  also  to  be  done, 
there  is  no  office  so  humble,  nor  so  vile,  that 
he  refuseth  not  to  serve  his  own  dogs  himself, 
to  bathe  their  feet  and  to  anoint  them  where 
they  be  sore,  yea,  and  to  cleanse  their  stinking 
kennel,  where  they  shall  lie  and  rest  them. 
Surely  if  religious  persons  had  so  earnest  a 
mind  and  desire  to  the  service  of  Christ  as 
have  these  hunters  to  see  a  course  at  a  hare, 


their  life  should  be  unto  them  a  very  joy  and 

For  what  other  be  the  pains  of  religion 
but  these  that  I  liave  spoken  of?  That  is 
to  say,  much  fasting,  crying  and  coming  to 
the  choir,  forsaking  of  worldly  honours,  worldly 
riches,  fleshly  pleasures  and  communication 
of  the  world,  humble  service  and  obedience  to 
her  sovereign,*  and  charitable  dealing  to  her 
sister ;  which  pains  in  every  point  the  hunter 
taketh  and  sustaineth  more  largely  for  the  love 
that  he  hath  to  his  game,  than  doeth  many 
a  religious  person  for  the  love  of  Christ.  For 
albeit  the  religious  person  riseth  at  midnight, 
which  is  painful  to  her  in  very  deed,  yet  she 
went  before  that  to  her  bed  at  a  convenient 
hour,  and  also  cometh  after  to  her  bed  again. 
But  the  hunter  riseth  early,  and  so  continueth 
forth  all  the  long  day,  no  more  returning  to  his 
bed  until  the  very  night,  and  yet  peradventure 
he  was  late  up  the  night  before,  and  full 
often  up  all  the  long  nights.  And  though  the 
religious  woman  fast  until  it  be  noon,  the 
which  must  be  to  her  painful,  the  hunter  yet 
taketh  more  pain,  which  fasteth  until  the  very 
night,  forgetting  both  meat  and  drink  for  the 

*  i.e.,  religious  superior. 


pleasure  of  his  game.  The  religious  woman 
singeth  all  the  forenoon  in  the  choir,  and  that 
also  is  laborious  unto  her,  but  yet  the  hunter 
singeth  not,  but  he  crieth,  hallooeth  and 
shouteth  all  the  long  day  and  hath  more 
greater  pains.  The  religious  woman  taketh 
much  labour  in  coming  to  the  choir  and  sitting 
there  so  long  a  season,  but  yet  no  doubt  of  it 
more  labour  taketh  the  hunter  in  running  over 
the  fallow,  and  leaping  over  the  hedges,  and 
creeping  through  the  bushes  than  that  can  be. 
And  would  to  God  that  in  other  things,  that  is  to 
say,  touching  worldly  honours,  worldly  riches, 
worldly  pleasures — would  to  God  that  the  re- 
ligious persons  many  of  them  might  profit  as 
much  in  mindfulness  in  seeking  of  Christ,  as 
the  hunter  doeth  in  seeking  of  his  game,  and 
yet  all  their  comfort  were  to  commune  and 
speak  of  Christ,  as  the  hunters  have  all  their 
joy  to  speak  of  the  poor  hare,  and  of  their 

And  furthermore,  would  to  God  the  reli- 
gious persons  would  content  themselves  with 
the  humble  service  done  to  their  sovereign, 
and  with  charitable  behaviour  unto  their  sisters, 
and  with  as  good  a  heart  and  mind  as  the 
hunters  acquit  them  to  serve  their  hounds.  I 
wot  it  is  a  thing  much  more  reasonable  to  love 


and  serve  reasonable  creatures  made  to  the 
image  of  Almighty  God,  rather  than  to  love 
and  serve  dogs  which  be  unreasonable  crea- 
tures. And  rather  our  duty  were  to  speak  of 
Christ,  and  of  things  belonging  to  His  honour, 
than  of  the  vain  worldly  matters  which  be  but 
very  trifles  indeed.  And  also  with  more  atten- 
tive mind  we  should  seek  after  our  Saviour 
Christ  Jesu,  to  know  our  very  comfort  in  Him 
— wherein  resteth  the  great  merit  of  our  souls — 
than  the  hunters  should  seek  after  the  hare, 
which  when  they  have  gotten  they  have  no 
great  gains  thereby.  But  as  I  have  said,  the 
cause  why  so  many  religious  persons  so  dili- 
gently pursue  not  the  ways  of  religion  as  do  the 
hunters,  is  the  want  of  the  observation  of  their 
game,  which  is  nothing  else  but  the  lack  of 
love.  For  verily,  as  I  think,  the  earnest  love 
and  hearty  desire  of  game  maketh  all  labours 
and  pains  joyous  unto  the  hunter.  And  if 
there  v/ere  in  religious  persons  as  great  favour 
and  love  to  the  service  of  God,  as  be  in  hunters 
to  their  game,  all  their  life  should  be  a  very 
paradise  and  heavenly  joy  in  this  world.  And 
contrariwise  without  this  fervour  of  love  it  can- 
not be  but  painful,  weary  and  tedious  to  them. 
My  purpose  therefore,  dear  sister,  is  to 
minister   unto   you   some   common   considera- 


tions  which  if  you  will  often  resort  unto  by 
due  remembrance  and  so  by  diligent  prayer 
call  upon  Almighty  God  for  His  love,  you 
shall  now  by  His  grace  attain  it. 

The  First  Consideration 
The  first  consideration  may  be  this  :  First  con- 
sider by  your  own  mind  and  reason  that  Al- 
mighty God  of  His  own  singular  goodness  and 
free  will  did  create  you  and  make  you  of 
naught,  whereunto  He  was  not  bound  by  any 
necessity,  nor  drawn  by  any  commodity  that 
might  rise  upon  Him  by  your  creation.  No 
other  thing  moved  Him  but  His  very  goodness 
and  special  favour  that  He  bare  unto  you,  long 
or  ever  He  did  make  you.  This,  good  sister, 
take  for  a  very  truth  and  firmly  believe  it,  for 
so  it  is  in  very  deed  ;  innumerable  creatures, 
more  than  ever  were  made  or  ever  shall  be 
made,  He  might  have  made  if  it  had  been  so 
pleasing  unto  Him.  For  how  many,  suppose 
you,  married  men  and  married  women  have 
been  and  shall  be  hereafter  in  this  world,  that 
never  had  nor  never  shall  have  any  children, 
yet  they  full  gladly  would  have  had,  and  by 
possibility  of  natnr.-  might  have  had  many,  if  it 
had  so  pleased  A' mighty  God  to  have  made 
and  to  have  given  unto  them  children.     But  all 


those  be  left  unmade,  and  amongst  them  He 
might  have  left  you  also  unmade,  and  never 
have  put  His  hand  to  the  making  of  you  if 
He  had  so  would.  Nevertheless,  as  I  said, 
it  pleased  His  goodness  herein  to  prefer  you 
of  His  special  favour  that  He  bore  unto 
you,  leaving  unmade  others  more  innumerable, 
electing  you  and  appointing  you  to  be  made, 
refusing  and  setting  apart  all  them  which 
would,  peradventure,  have  considered  His 
special  grace  and  favour  more  lovingly  than 
you  hitherto  have  done,  and  would  have 
studied  more  for  His  pleasure  and  service  than 
ever  you  did  ;  and  you  occupy  the  room  and 
place  that  some  of  them  might  have  occupied 
by  like  favour  as  Almighty  God  hath  shewed 
unto  you.  Ah,  dear  sister,  how  much  should 
this  one  consideration  move  you  to  the  earnest 
love  of  this  our  so  gracious  a  Lord,  that  thus 
hath  appointed  and  chosen  you  to  be  His 
creature  before  so  many  others,  where  He 
might  have  taken  any  of  them  at  His  pleasure 
and  repelled  you  and  left  you  as  naught  with- 
out any  manner  of  being! 

The  Second  Consideration 
The  second  consideration  is  this  :  Where  there 
is   many   manner    of    beings,   some   creatures 


have  a  goodly  being,  some  have  an  ungoodly 
being.  It  is  a  more  goodly  being  margarite  * 
of  a  precious  stone  than  of  a  pebble  stone  ;  of 
the  fair  bright  gold  than  of  rusty  iron ;  of  a 
goodly  pheasant  than  of  a  venomous  serpent ; 
of  a  pretty  fawn  than  of  a  foul  toad  ;  of  a  rea- 
sonable soul  than  of  an  unreasonable  beast. 
And  it  is  not  to  be  doubted  but  Almighty  God 
might  have  given  to  any  of  them  what  being  so- 
ever He  would,  and  might  have  transformed 
each  of  those  into  the  nature  and  kind  of  any 
of  the  other  at  His  pleasure  and  will.  For  of 
the  stones  He  might  make  men,  as  in  the 
Gospel  our  Saviour  doth  affirm  :  Potens  est  Deus 
de  lapidibus  istis  suscitare  filios  JbrahcB,  Al- 
mighty God  hath  the  power  to  make  of  these 
stones  the  children  of  Abraham.  And  contrari- 
wise He  might  of  men  have  made  stones,  as  the 
wife  of  Lot  was  turned  into  a  salt  stone.  And 
in  like  wise  me  or  you  or  any  other  man  or 
woman,  He  might  have  made  a  stone,  or  a 
serpent,  or  a  toad,  for  His  pleasure.  There  is 
no  creature  so  foul,  so  horrible,  or  so  ungodly, 
but  He  might  put  you  in  the  same  condition 
that  the  most  loathly  of  them  be  put  in,  and 
them,  in  contrariwise,  He  might  have  put  in 
the  same  condition  that  you  be  in.     Consider 

*  i.e.,  a  pearl. 


now,  by  your  reason,  that  if  you  had  been 
made  in  the  hkeness  of  an  owl,  or  of  an  ape,  or 
of  a  toad,  how  deformed  you  should  have  been, 
and  in  how  wretched  and  miserable  condition. 
And  thank  your  Lord  God  that  hath  given  you 
a  more  excellent  nature,  yea,  such  a  nature  as 
excelleth  in  nobleness,  in  dignity,  all  other 
bodily  natures ;  for  it  is  made  to  the  very  like- 
ness and  image  of  Almighty  God,  whereunto 
none  other  bodily  creature  doth  reach  near. 
Metals  nor  stones,  be  they  never  so  precious, 
neither  herbs  nor  trees,  neither  fishes  nor  fowls, 
neither  any  manner  of  beast,  be  they  never  so 
noble  in  their  kind,  doth  attain  to  this  high 
point  of  nobleness  to  have  in  them  the  image 
and  likeness  of  Almighty  God,  but  only  man. 
Forasmuch  then  as  our  Lord  God  might  have 
given  this  excellent  dignity  to  other  innumerable 
creatures,  as  to  beasts,  to  fowls,  to  fishes,  to- 
trees,  to  herbs,  to  metals,  to  stones,  and  hath 
not  so  done,  but  before  all  those  hath  elected 
and  chosen  you  to  bear  His  image  and  likeness 
and  to  be  endued  with  a  reasonable  soul,  how 
much  should  his  loving  dealing  move  you  to 
enforce  yourself  with  all  the  strength  and  power 
of  your  heart  and  mind  to  love  Him  therefore 


The  Third  Consideration 
The  third  consideration  is  this :  That  whereas, 
notwithstanding  this  great  and  excellent  gift, 
you,  nevertheless,  by  reason  of  original  sin 
wherewith  you  were  born  of  your  mother  into 
this  world,  had  lost  the  great  inheritance  above 
in  heaven  and  purchased  everlasting  imprison- 
ment in  hell,  He  of  His  great  and  singular 
goodness  had  provided  you  to  be  born  within 
the  precincts  of  Christendom,  where  you  have 
been  instructed  in  the  doctrine  of  His  taith  and 
received  the  holy  Sacrament  of  Baptism,  and 
have  been  made  a  Christian  woman,  whereby 
you  did  receive  again  your  inheritance  before 
lost,  and  have  escaped  the  most  horrible  danger 
of  everlasting  damnation.  How  many,  sup- 
pose you,  in  all  the  world  that  be  not  instructed 
in  this  law  and  faith  of  Christ,  nor  have  not  re- 
ceived the  holy  Sacrament  of  Baptism,  both 
noble  men  and  women,  both  knights  and 
princes,  which  have  great  wisdom  and  reason, 
and  many  such  as,  peradventure,  if  they  were 
taught  it,  would  more  readily  apply  their  minds 
to  Christ's  faith  than  you  do,  and  more  heartily 
serve  Him,  honour  and  love  Him  than  ever  you 
■did ;   and  yet,    lo !    thus  graciously   hath  He 


provided  for  you  before  all  them,  and  hath  ap- 
pointed you  to  be  a  Christian  woman  and  to  be 
partaker  of  all  those  graces  and  benefits  that 
belong  unto  the  Christian  people,  which  be  so 
many  and  so  great,  that  it  passeth  the  wits  of 
men,  not  only  to  number  but  also  to  think. 

And  here,  good  sister,  do  deeply  consider  in 
your  soul  how  much  this  loving  preferment  of 
our  Lord  God  should  stir  you  to  love  Him 
again,  when  He  suffereth  so  innumerable  a 
multitude  of  men  and  women  to  perish  and  to 
be  lost  for  ever,  amongst  whom  many  do  pass 
you  in  all  natural  virtues,  both  of  body  and 
soul,  and  also  would  farther  pass  you  in  profit- 
ing in  the  law  of  Christ  if  they  were  received 
thereunto;  and  yet,  I  say,  He  suffereth  them  to 
perish  everlastingly  and  perpetually  to  be 
damned ;  and  for  your  safeguard  hath  provided 
of  His  singular  goodness  and  mercy  towards 
you,  for  the  which  since  it  is  not  possible  of 
your  part  to  recompense,  why  shall  you  not 
with  all  your  power  enforce  yourself  to  love 
His  most  gracious  goodness  again,  and  after 
your  possibility  to  give  unto  Him  most  humble 
thanks  therefor  ? 


The  Fourth  Consideration 
The  fourth  consideration  is  this  :  That  where, 
since  that  time  of  your  Baptism  and  that  you 
were  made  a  Christian  woman,  you  have  many 
times  unkindly  fallen  into  deadly  sin  and 
broken  His  laws  and  commandments,  setting  at 
naught  all  those  benefits  which  He  before  had 
given  to  you,  following  your  wretched  pleasure 
to  the  great  displeasure  and  contempt  of  His 
Most  High  Majesty  ;  and  yet  He  furthermore 
did  not  strike  you,  nor  yet  revenge  Himself 
upon  you  rigorously,  punishing  the  trans- 
gressors and  breakers  of  His  law  as  He  might 
and  should  by  His  righteousness  have  done. 
But,  contrariwise,  He  did  long  spare  you  by 
His  excellent  mercy,  and  mercifully  He  did 
abide  your  return  to  Him  again  by  sorrowful 
repentance  and  asking  of  Him  mercy  for  your 
abominable  offences.  And  where  you  so  did 
with  good  hearty  mind  at  any  time,  He  received 
you  to  His  grace,  and  by  the  sacrament  of 
penance  you  were  taken  into  His  favour  again, 
and  so  yet  escape  the  horrible  pains  of  hell  due 
for  your  outrageous  unkindness.  No  reason 
may  judge  the  contrary  but  that  you  of  good 
right  have  deserved  them  for  your   foul  pre* 


sumption  in  breaking  of  the  laws  of  your  Lord 
God,  and  preferring  your  wretched  appetites  be- 
fore His  pleasure,  and  following  your  own  wilful 
desires  before  His  most  high  commandments. 
Alas,  what  miserable  condition  should  you  now 
have  been  in  if  He  so  incontinent  after  your 
offences  had  stricken  you  by  death  and  had 
sent  you  to  the  horrible  pains  of  hell,  where 
you  should  not  only  for  a  time  have  bidden, 
but  for  ever  and  without  all  remedy.  No 
prayers  of  your  friends,  no  almsdeeds,  no  such 
other  good  works  should  have  relieved  you. 

Ah,  sister,  imprint  deeply  in  your  soul  this 
inestimable  mercy  of  your  Lord  God  showed 
unto  you  through  His  most  gracious  and  merci- 
ful abiding  for  your  return  to  Him  by  true  re- 
pentance and  asking  of  His  mercy.  For  innu- 
merable souls  of  men  and  women,  for  less 
offences  than  you  have  done,  lie  now  in  the 
prison  of  hell,  and  shall  there  continue  without 
end  ;  which  if  they  might  have  had  as  great 
sufferance  as  you  have  had,  and  so  long  leisure 
to  repent  them,  they  would  have  taken  more 
sorrowful  repentance  than  ever  you  took,  and 
do  now  more  sorrowfully  repent  than  ever  you 
did,  but  that  as  now  cannot  profit  them,  for 
that  sorrow  and  repentance  is  now  too  late. 
But  to  my  purpose,  how  may  you  think  that 


this  loving  sufferance  and  gracious  abiding  of 
your  amendment  and  merciful  accepting  of 
your  sorrows  and  repentance  for  your  great 
sins,  Cometh  not  of  a  singular  love  showed 
unto  you  by  your  Lord  God  before  all  them  ? 
And  shall  not  this  consideration  pierce  your 
heart  and  move  you  much  to  love  Him  again  ? 

The  Fifth  Consideration 
The  fifth  consideration  is  this  :  Peradventure, 
after  that  thus  by  your  repentance  and  asking 
mercy  you  were  taken  to  this  grace  of  your 
God,  yet  far  more  grievously  and  far  more  un- 
kindly you  fell  again  to  sin,  and  kept  not  the 
purpose  and  promise  that  before  you  did  make, 
but  more  without  shame  and  dread  of  His  high- 
ness took  your  liberty  in  your  sinful  ways, 
abusing  His  gentleness  and  presuming  upon 
His  mercy,  not  regarding  any  benefit  or  kind- 
ness showed  by  His  most  excellent  goodness 
unto  you  before,  so  defiling  your  soul  by  innu- 
merable ways,  and  making  it  filthy  and  more 
ungoodly  than  is  the  sow  that  waltereth  herself 
in  the  foul  miry  puddle,  and  more  pestilently 
stinketh  in  the  sight  of  God  than  is  the  stink- 
ing carrion  of  a  dead  dog  being  rotten  and  lying 
in  a  ditch ;  yet,  nevertheless,  for  all  these  mis- 
behaviours, your  Lord  God  of  His  far-passing 


goodness  hath  called  you  again  from  your  sin- 
ful life  and  hath  graciously  stirred  your  soul  to 
forsake  your  sin  and  to  leave  this  wretched 
world  and  to  enter  the  holy  religion.  Whereby 
(after  the  sentence  of  holy  doctors)  your  soul  is 
made  as  clean  as  it  was  at  your  baptism  and 
restored  again  to  the  purity  and  cleanliness  of 
your  first  innocence;  and  not  only  that,  but 
also  He  hath  appointed  you  to  be  of  the 
number  of  them  that  He  assigned  for  His  best 
beloved  spouses.  And  what  high  point  of 
singular  favour  is  this?  How  many  women, 
far  better  than  you,  be  left  behind  in  this  world, 
not  called  to  this  high  dignity  nor  admitted  to 
this  most  special  grace?  When  the  noble 
King  Asuerus,  as  it  is  written  in  the  Scripture, 
commanded  many  fair  maidens  to  be  chosen 
out  and  to  be  seen  unto  with  all  things  that 
might  make  them  fair  and  beautiful  and  pleasant 
to  his  sight,  to  the  intent  that  they  at  all  times 
when  it  should  like  him  to  appoint  any  of  them 
to  come  to  his  presence  and  to  be  his  spouse, 
they  might  be  the  more  ready,  this  thing,  no 
doubt  of  it,  was  to  them  that  were  thus  chosen 
a  comfort,  that  they  were  preferred  before 
others,  and  also  every  one  of  them  might  live  in 
hope  to  come  to  the  king's  presence  and  have 
some  likelihood  to  be  accepted  for  his  spouse, 


in  SO  much  that  all  others  but  they  were  excluded. 
In  like  manner  it  is  with  religious  women. 
All  they,  by  the  gracious  calling  of  the  great 
King  of  heaven,  be  gathered  into  God's  religion 
and  dissevered  from  the  other  secular  women 
that  be  of  the  world,  there  a  season  to  abide 
until  they  be  sufficiently  prepared  by  the  holy 
sacraments  and  the  holy  observations  of  religion 
to  come  to  His  gracious  Highness's  presence, 
and  to  be  brought  into  His  secret  chamber 
above  in  heaven,  there  to  abide  with  Him  in 
endless  joy  and  bliss.  Blessed  is  that  religious 
woman  that  so  doth  prepare  herself  for  this 
little  time  that  here  she  shall  tarry  by  prayer,  by 
meditation,  by  contemplation,  by  tears  of  devo- 
tion, by  hearty  love  and  burning  desire,  that 
after  that  this  transitory  lite  she  may  be  ad- 
mitted to  the  most  excellent  honour,  and  not 
with  shame  and  rebuke  be  repelled  therefrom 
when  the  day  shall  come. 

The  Sixth  Consideration 

The  sixth  consideration  that  you  call  well  to 
your  remembrance,  who  it  is  that  doth  thus  ex- 
hort you  for  to  love,  verily  He  is  that  person 
that  if  either  you  will  freely  give  your  love,  or 
else  sell  your  love,  He  is  most  worthy  to  have 


it  above  all  other.  First,  if  ye  were  of  that 
mind  to  give  your  love  free,  it  were  good  yet 
there  to  bestow  it  that  you  should  choose  such 
a  one,  as  both  in  goodliness  of  person,  as  also 
in  prowess  and  wisdom,  and  good  gentle  man- 
ners may  be  worthy  of  your  love.  For  if  there 
be  any  deformity  in  him  whom  you  would  love, 
it  is  an  impediment  and  great  let  for  to  love 
him  ;  but  in  our  Saviour  Christ  the  Son  of  God 
is  no  deformity,  for  He  is  all  goodly,  and  sur- 
mounteth  all  other  in  goodliness  ;  and,  there- 
fore, of  Him  the  prophet  David  affirmeth  in 
this  manner  :  Speciosus  fonna  prcefiliis  hoininuniy 
that  is  to  say,  **He  is  goodly  before  the  children 
of  men."  And  of  truth  much  goodly  must  He 
needs  be  that  hath  so  many  goodly  creatures. 
Behold  the  rose,  the  lily,  the  violet;  behold 
the  peacocks,  the  pheasant,  the  popinjay ;  be- 
hold all  the  other  creatures  of  this  world — all 
these  were  of  His  making,  all  their  beauty 
and  goodliness  of  Him  they  received  it. 
Wherefore  this  goodliness  describeth  that  He 
Himself  must  needs  of  necessity  be  very  goodly 
and  beautiful.  And  for  that  in  the  book  of  Can- 
ticles the  Spouse  describeth  His  goodliness, 
saying  :  Dilectus  mens  Candidas  et  ruhicunduSy 
electus  ex  millibus^  that  is  to  say  :  "  He  that  I 
love   is   white   and  red,    chosen   out   amongst 


thousands."  And  this  beauty  and  goodliness 
is  not  mortal,  it  cannot  fade  nor  perish  as  doeth 
the  goodliness  of  other  men,  which  like  a  flower 
to-day  is  fresh  and  lusty,  and  to-morrow  with 
a  little  sickness  is  withered  and  vanisheth  away. 
And  yet  it  is  sensible  to  the  goodliness  of  man's 
nature,  for  the  which  also  he  is  more  naturally 
to  be  beloved  of  many.  For  likeness  is  the 
ground  of  love,  like  always  doth  covet  like,  and 
the  nearer  in  likeness  that  any  person  be,  the 
sooner  they  may  be  knit  together  in  love.  The 
same  likeness  He  hath  and  you  have,  like 
body  and  like  soul,  touching  His  manhood ; 
your  soul  is  also  like  unto  Him  in  His  Godhead, 
for  after  the  image  and  similitude  of  it  your 
soul  is  made.  Furthermore  of  His  might  and 
power  you  may  be  likewise  a  certain  season. 
He  made  this  world  by  the  only  commandment 
of  His  mouth,  and  gave  to  the  herbs  and  all 
other  creatures  their  virtue  and  might  that  they 
have  ;  and  may  also  by  His  power  save  and 
damn  creatures,  either  to  lift  them  up  in  body 
and  soul  into  heaven  above,  or  else  to  throw 
them  down  into  ever-during  pains  of  hell.  If  ye 
doubt  of  His  wisdom,  behold  all  this  world,  and 
consider  how  every  creature  is  set  with  another, 
and  every  of  them  by  himself,  how  the  heavens 
are  apparelled  with  stars,  the  air  with  fowls,  the 


water  with  fishes,  the  earth  with  herbs,  trees  and 
beasts,  how  the  stars  be  clad  with  Hght,  the  fowls 
with  feathers,  the  fishes  with  scales,  the  beasts 
with  hair,  herbs  and  trees  with  leaves,  and  flowers 
with  scent,  wherein  doth  well  appear  a  great  and 
marvellous  wisdom  of  Him  that  made  them.  Fi- 
nally His  good  and  gentle  manner  is  all  full  of 
pleasure  and  comfort  so  kind,  so  friendly,  so 
liberal  and  beneficious,  so  piteous  and  merciful, 
so  ready  in  all  opportunities,  so  mindful  and 
circumspect,  so  dulcet  and  sweet  in  communi- 
cation. For  as  Scripture  saith  :  Non  hahet 
aniaritudi7iem  conversatio  vel  taediujti  convictus 
illius^  sed  laetitiam  et  gaudium,  that  is  to  say : 
"  His  manners  be  so  sweet  and  pleasant  that 
the  conversation  of  Him  hath  no  bitterness ; 
yea,  His  company  hath  no  loathsomeness  nor 
weariness  in  it,  but  all  gladness  and  joy."  Here 
peradventure  you  will  say  unto  me,  how  may  I 
love  that  I  see  not?  if  I  might  see  Him  with  all 
the  conditions  ye  speak  of,  I  could  with  all  my 
heart  love  Him.  Ah  !  good  sister,  that  time  is 
not  come  yet ;  you  must,  as  I  said,  now  for  the 
time  prepare  yourself  in  cleanness  of  body  and 
soul,  against  that  time  ;  so  when  that  time 
Cometh  you  may  be  able  and  worthy  to  see  Him, 
or  else  you  shall  be  excluded  from  Him  with  the 
unwise  virgins,  of  whom  the  Gospel  telleth  that 


they  were  shut  out  from  His  presence  with 
great  shame  and  confusion,  because  they  had 
not  sufficiently  prepared  themselves.  Therefore, 
good  sister,  for  this  time  be  not  negligent  to 
prepare  yourself  with  all  good  works,  that  then 
you  may  be  admitted  to  come  unto  His  presence, 
from  the  which  to  be  excluded  it  shall  be  a 
more  grievous  pain  than  any  pain  of  hell.  For, 
as  Chrysostom  saith  :  *  Si  decein  mille gehemias 
quis  dixerit,  nihil  tale  est  quale  ab  ilia  beata  visione 
excidere,  that  is  to  say  :  "  If  one  would  rehearse 
unto  me  ten  thousand  hells,  yet  all  that  should 
not  be  so  great  pains  as  it  is  to  be  excluded 
from  the  blessed  sight  of  the  face  of  Christ." 

The  Seventh  Consideration 
The  seventh  consideration  is  this  :  where  now 
it  appeareth  unto  you,  that  if  you  will  give  your 
love  freely,  there  is  none  so  worthy  to  have  it 
as  Jesus  the  Son  of  the  Virgin  Mary.  I  will 
further  shew  unto  you  that  if  you  will  not  freely 
give  it,  but  you  will  look  peradventure  to 
have  something  again,  yet  there  is  none  so 
well  worthy  to  have  it  as  He  is;  for  if  another 
will  give  more  for  it  than  He,  I  will  not  be 
against  it  ;  take  your  advantage.     But  sure  I 

*S.  Chrys.  in  ep.  Philipp,  c.4,  horn.  13  4,  p.  302bc. 

IHE  REDEMPriO\^  43 

am  there  is  none  other  to  whom  your  love 
is  so  dear,  and  of  so  great  a  price  as  it  is  unto 
Him,  nor  any  that  will  come  nigh  unto  that 
that  He  hath  given  or  will  give.  If  His  bene- 
fits and  kindness  shewed  towards  you,  whereof 
I  spake  somewhat  before,  were  by  you  well 
pondered,  they  be  no  small  benefits,  and  es- 
pecially the  love  of  so  great  a  prince,  and  that 
He  would  thus  love  you,  and  prefer  you 
before  so  many  innumerable  creatures  of  His, 
and  that  when  there  was  in  you  no  love,  and 
when  you  could  not  skill  of  love  ;  yea,  and  that, 
that  more  is,  when  you  were  enemy  unto  Him, 
yet  He  loved  you,  and  so  wonderfully  that  for 
your  love,  and  to  wash  you  from  sin,  and  to 
deliver  your  soul  from  the  extreme  peril,  He 
shed  His  most  precious  blood,  and  suffered 
the  most  shameful,  the  most  cruel  and  the  most 
painful  death  of  the  cross ;  His  head  to  be 
pierced  with  thorns.  His  hands  and  feet  to  be 
through  holed  with  nails,  His  side  to  be  lanced 
with  a  spear,  and  all  His  most  tender  body  to 
be  torn  and  rent  with  whips  and  scourges. 
Believe  this  for  a  very  truth,  good  sister,  that 
for  your  sake  He  suffered  all,  as  if  there  had 
been  no  more  in  all  the  world  but  only  yourself, 
which  I  will  declare  more  largely  unto  you  in 
the  next  consideration  following. 


Believe  it  in  the  meantime  certainly,  for  so 
it  is  indeed,  and  if  you  believe  it  not,  you  do  a 
great  injury  and  shew  a  full  unkindness  unto 
Him  that  thus  much  hath  done  for  you. 

And  if  this  belief  truly  settle  in  your  heart, 
it  is  to  me  a  marvel  if  you  can  content  your 
heart  without  the  love  of  Him,  of  Him,  I  say, 
that  thus  dearly  hath  loved  you,  and  doth  love 
you  still.  For  what  other  lover  will  do  thus 
much  for  your  love  ?  What  creature  in  all  the 
world  will  die  for  your  sake  ?  What  one  person 
will  part  with  one  drop  of  his  heart  blood 
for  your  sake  ?  When  then  the  Son  of  God, 
the  Prince  of  heaven,  the  Lord  of  Angels,  hath 
done  this  for  your  sake,  which  thing  no  other 
creature  will  do,  what  frost  could  have  congeal- 
ed your  heart  that  it  may  not  relent  against 
so  great  an  heat  of  love  ?  If  He,  so  excellent 
in  all  nobleness,  should  have  given  you  but 
one  favourable  countenance  from  the  heavens 
above,  it  had  been  a  more  precious  benefit  than 
ever  you  could  recompense  by  your  love  again. 
It  were  impossible  for  your  love  to  recompense 
that  one  thing.  But  how  much  rather  when  He 
hath  descended  into  this  wretched  world  for 
your  sake,  and  here  hath  become  man,  and 
hath  endured  all  misery  pertaining  unto  man, 
save  only  sin  and  ignorance,  and  finally  hath 


suffered  this  great  horrible  death  for  your  love, 
how  shall  you  ever  now  recompense  this  by  any 
love  or  service  to  be  done  for  your  pity  ?  And 
He  hath  not  only  done  all  this  for  your  sake, 
but  also  hath  prepared  for  you  after  this  transi- 
tory life  a  reward  above  in  heaven,  so  great 
that  never  mortal  eye  saw  the  like,  nor  any 
tongue  can  express,  nor  yet  any  heart  can 
think.  Ah,  sister,  when  your  wretched  soul 
shall  hence  depart,  which  cannot  be  very  long 
here,  who  shall  give  you  refreshing  the  space  of 
one  hour  ?  Good  therefore  it  is  that  you  look 
unto  yourself  and  upon  Him  bestow  your  love, 
the  which  hitherto  hath  done  most  for  you 
and  best  hath  deserved  it  beyond  all  other;  and 
yet  after  this  life  He  will  give  for  it  a  reward  so 
inestimable  that  it  shall  never  fail  you. 

The  Eighth  Consideration 
The  eighth  consideration  is  this :  that  albeit, 
there  are  many  others  which  also  are  beloved 
of  Christ  Jesu,  yet  the  love  that  He  sheweth  to 
them,  nothing  minisheth  His  love  towards  you, 
as  if  there  were  no  more  beloved  of  Him  in  all 
the  kind  of  man.  This  may  evidently  be 
shewed  unto  you  by  this  example  following.  If 
before  any  image  of  our  Saviour  were  disposed 
and  set  in  a  long  row  many  glasses,  some  great 


and  some  little,  some  high  and  some  low,  a 
convenient  distance  from  the  image,  so  that 
every  one  of  them  might  receive  a  present- 
ment of  the  image,  it  is  no  doubt  but  in 
every  one  of  these  glasses  should  appear  the 
very  likeness  of  the  same  image.  I  will  not 
say  but  this  likeness  should  be  longer  in  the 
great  glasses  than  in  the  less,  and  clearer  in  the 
better  cleansed  glasses,  and  in  them  that  were 
nigh  unto  the  image,  than  in  the  others  that 
were  not  so  well  cleansed  and  much  farther  off. 
But  as  to  the  likeness  itself  it  shall  be  as  full 
and  as  whole  in  every  one  glass  as  though 
there  were  but  one. 

Now  to  my  purpose,  if  you  consider  likewise 
that  all  the  good  souls  that  be  scoured  from 
deadly  sin  be  in  the  manner  of  glasses  set  in 
an  order  to  receive  the  love  of  our  Saviour 
Christ  Jesu,  such  souls  as  by  true  penance 
doing,  by  sighing,  by  weeping,  by  praying,  by 
watching,  by  fasting  and  by  other  like,  be  the 
better  scoured  and  cleansed  from  the  spots  and 
malice  of  deadly  sin,  they  be  the  brighter 
glasses  and  more  clearly  receive  this  love,  and 
such  also  be  near  unto  our  Saviour,  for  nothing 
putteth  us  far  from  Him  but  only  sin.  And 
therefore  they  that  have  more  diligently  scoured 
their  souls  from  the  rust  of  sin  be  nearer  unto 


Him  than  the  others  that  so  have  not  done. 
Such  souls  also  as  of  their  part  enforce  them- 
selves to  a  great  love  and  to  a  more  ample 
fervour,  they  do  enlarge  the  capacity  of  their 
souls  to  receive  a  more  large  abundance  of 
love;  again,  those  that  less  enforce  them,  have 
a  less  capacity  in  receiving,  and  therefore  so 
much  the  less  they  receive  of  this  love,  even 
as  a  man  that  openeth  his  bosom  wide  and 
enlargeth  it,  is  more  able  to  receive  a  greater 
thing  into  it  than  he  that  doeth  not. 

But  yet,  as  I  have  said  before  of  the  glasses, 
every  one  of  the  souls  receives  as  full  and  as 
whole  a  love  of  Jesu  Christ  as  though  there 
were  no  more  souls  in  all  the  world  but  that 
one  alone,  for  the  love  of  Christ  Jesus  [is]  in- 
finite. And  therefore  when  innumerable  of  souls 
have  every  one  of  them  received  as  much  the 
love  of  Christ  Jesu  as  to  every  one  of  them  is 
possible,  yet  hath  He  still  in  Himself  love  suffi- 
cient for  infinite  more,  and  this  His  love  there- 
by is  not  in  any  point  diminished  nor  lessened, 
though  it  be  divided  into  many,  be  the  number 
of  them  never  so  great.  None  of  them  that 
be  beloved  receive  the  less  because  of  the  multi- 
tude of  his  fellows,  nor  if  he  had  no  more  but 
himself  he  should  not  thereby  have  any  more 
abundance  of  love  to  his  part,  but  according  to 


the  cleansing  and  capacity  of  his  soul  and  nigh- 
ness  unto  Christ,  his  part  in  love  shall  be  the 
less  or  more.  Wherefore,  good  sister,  I  pray 
you  be  diligent  to  scour  your  soul  clean,  and 
to  enforce  your  soul  on  your  part  fervently  to 
love  your  spouse  Christ  Jesu,  and  draw  nigh 
unto  Him  with  entire  devotion,  and  then  un- 
doubtedly you  shall  be  partner  to  the  more 
plenteous  abundance  of  His  love,  notwith- 
standing any  other  multitude  which  beside  is 
beloved  of  Him;  for  He  nevertheless  is  as 
studious  of  you  and  as  mindful  and  as  fervently 
careth  for  your  weal  as  though  there  were  no 
more  beloved  of  Him  but  you  alone  in  all  this 

The  Ninth  Considefation 
The  ninth  consideration  is  this  :  where  perad- 
venture  you  would  object  to  me  again  and  say : 
"  Brother,  if  it  be  thus  as  you  say,  that  my 
Lord  Jesu  loveth  me  so  much,  and  is  so  mindful 
of  me,  and  so  fervently  intendeth  my  weal, 
what  need  me  to  care  whatsoever  I  do  ?  He 
will  not  cast  me  away  ;  He  will  not  forsake  me 
nor  suffer  me  to  perish."  Good  sister,  without 
doubt  as  I  have  said,  our  Saviour  Christ  Jesu 
is  in  love  towards  you,  and  He  is  mindful  and 
more  loving  towards  you  than  I  can  express. 


And  sure  you  may  be  that  He  will  never  cast 
you  away,  nor  forsake  you,  if  you  before  cast 
not  yourself  away,  nor  forsake  yourself.  But 
if  you  give  any  place  to  sin  in  your  soul,  and 
suffer  it  to  enter  upon  you,  verily  then  you 
forsake  yourself  and  cast  yourself  away,  and 
willingly  destroy  yourself,  that  is  your  deed  and 
not  His  ;  for  He  never  forsaketh  any  creature 
unless  they  before  have  forsaken  themselves. 
And  if  they  will  forsake  themselves,  were  they 
never  in  so  great  favour  with  Him  before,  they 
then  incontinently  lose  His  favour.  The  which 
thing  well  appeareth  in  His  first  spiritual  crea- 
tures the  noble  angels,  Lucifer  and  his  company, 
which  were  created  in  excellent  brightness,  and 
were  much  in  the  favour  of  Almighty  God,  they 
presumptuously  offended  Him  in  pride ;  for  the 
which  not  only  they  lost  His  favour,  but  also 
their  marvellous  brightness  became  inconti- 
nently horrible,  foul,  and  were  expelled  out  of 
the  glorious  kingdom  of  heaven  that  they  were 
in,  and  thrown  into  perpetual  darkness,  into 
the  prison  of  hell. 

The  first  man  Adam  also,  who  was  created 
in  singular  honour,  and  was  put  into  paradise, 
a  place  full  of  gladness,  there  to  live  in  comfort 
of  all  pleasure,  the  which  was  done  to  him  for 
a  singular  love  that  Almighty  God  had  towards 


him  ;  yet  anon  as  he  fell  to  sin  he  was  in  like 
manner  expelled  out  from  that  pleasure,  and 
sent  into  this  miserable  world  to  endure  misery 
and  pain. 

If  those  noble  creatures  which  were  lifted 
up  into  so  great  favour  with  Almighty  God,  so 
lightly  by  their  misdemeanour  in  sin  lost  His 
gracious  favour,  let  none  other  creature  think 
but  if  they  admit  any  sin  to  their  soul,  they 
shall  be  likewise  excluded  out  of  His  favour. 
For  sin  is  so  odious  unto  Almighty  God,  that 
not  the  dearest  friends  that  ever  He  had  in  all 
the  world,  but  if  there  were  found  in  their  souls 
any  deadly  sin  after  death,  they  should  never 
be  received  into  the  joy  of  heaven.  Not  the 
blessed  Mary  Magdalene  for  all  her  love  towards 
Him,  nor  yet  His  own  blessed  Mother  that 
bare  Him  into  this  world,  if  one  deadly  sin 
were  found  in  their  souls,  they  should  inconti- 
nent be  thrown  into  the  dark  dungeon  of  hell. 
Wherefore,  good  sister,  say  not,  if  His  love 
be  so  much  upon  you,  and  He  so  desirously 
intendeth  your  profit,  that  you  may  do  what 
you  list,  you  need  not  to  care  what  you 
do ;  but  contrariwise,  the  more  that  He  loveth 
you,  the  more  you  should  take  heed  unto  your- 
self and  beware  that  you  offend  Him  not,  for  so 
did   the   Blessed   Mary  Magdalene,  of  whom 


I  spake  before.  She,  notwithstanding  the  great 
love  that  both  our  Saviour  had  to  her  and  she 
unto  Him  again,  for  the  which  also  her  sins  were 
forgiven  her,  yet  after  His  death  she  fled  from 
the  company  of  men,  and  lived  in  the  wilder- 
ness far  from  any  worldly  comfort,  in  great 
wailing,  fasting  and  prayer  and  such  other 
painfulness  of  her  body,  and  was  nothing  the 
less  diligent  to  keep  herself  warily  from  sin,  for 
the  great  love  that  our  Lord  and  Saviour  had 
to  her;  but  for  that  the  more  studiously  she  did 
avoid  and  eschew  everything  whereby  she  might 
run  into  any  displeasure  against  Him. 

The  Tenth  Consideration 
The  tenth  consideration  is  this  :  it  were  well 
done,  and  much  it  should  further  this  cause  if 
you  truly  esteem  of  how  little  value  your  love 
is,  how  vain,  how  light  and  how  trifling  a  thing 
it  is,  and  how  few  there  be  that  would  much 
regard  it  or  set  much  price  thereby,  for  few 
there  be  or  none  to  whom  it  may  do  any  profit 
or  avail.  Contrariwise,  you  should  consider  the 
love  of  your  spouse,  the  sweet  Jesu,  how  ex- 
cellent it  is,  how  sure,  how  fast,  how  constantly 
abiding,  how  many  have  much  specially  regarded 
it.  Martyrs  innumerable,  both  men  and  women, 
for  His  love  have  shed  their  blood  and  have  en- 


dured  every  kind  of  martyrdom,  were  it  never 
so  cruel,  were  it  never  so  terrible.  No  pain,  no 
torment,  might  compel  them  to  forsake  His 
love ;  so  desirous  were  they  of  His  love  that 
rather  than  they  would  forego  it,  they  gave  no 
force  of  the  loss  of  all  this  world  beside,  and 
their  own  life  also.  So  dear  and  precious  was 
that  love  to  them  that  all  the  honours,  pleasures 
and  possessions  of  this  life  they  accounted  as 
very  trifles  in  comparison  of  that.  And  what 
be  you  in  comparison  of  them,  but  naughty, 
wretched  and  miserable  ?  Where  then  they, 
which  be  now  glorious  saints  above  in  heaven, 
so  much  have  valued  and  so  greatly  esteemed 
this  most  excellent  love,  and  you  may  have  the 
same  love  for  yours,  that  is  so  naughty  and  so 
little  worth,  what  should  you  do  of  your  part  ? 
How  much  should  you  enforce  yourself  not  only 
to  obtain  this  love,  but  studiously  to  keep  it, 
since  that  you  have  it  once,  and  for  nothing 
to  depart  therefrom !  He  of  His  goodness  doth 
not  repel  any  creature  from  His  love,  but  per- 
mitteth  them  assuredly  that  if  any  draw  nigh 
unto  Him  by  love,  He  will  love  them  again,  and 
give  His  most  precious  love  for  theirs.  He 
sayeth  :  Ego  diligentes  vie  diligo  ;  that  is  to  say  : 
*'  I  love  them  that  love  Me."  And  in  another 
place :   En  qui  venit  ad  me  non  ejiciam  foras; 


that  is  to  say :  "  What  person  soever  cometh 
unto  Me,  I  will  not  cast  him  away."  Sister, 
if  you  consider  this  deeply,  it  should  move  you 
to  fall  down  upon  your  knees  and  with  all  your 
heart  and  mind  say  unto  your  Spouse  in  this 
manner ; 

"  O  my  blessed  Saviour  Lord  Jesu,  Thou 
askest  my  love,  Thou  desirest  to  have  my  heart, 
and  for  my  love  Thou  wilt  give  me  Thy  love 
again.  O  my  sweet  Lord,  what  is  this  for  Thee 
to  desire,  which  art  so  excellent  ?  If  my  poor 
heart  were  of  so  much  value  as  all  the  hearts  of 
men  and  women  that  ever  were,  if  they  were  put 
together  in  one ;  and  if  it  were  as  precious  and 
noble  as  there  is  price  and  nobleness  in  all  the 
orders  of  angels ;  if  furthermore  it  did  contain 
in  it  all  bodily  and  spiritual  treasure  that  is 
within  the  compass  of  heaven  or  without,  yet  it 
were  but  a  little  gift  to  give  unto  so  great  a 
Lord,  for  His  most  delicate  and  precious  love 
to  be  had  of  Him  again :  much  rather  my 
love  and  heart,  as  it  is  now  naughty,  wretched 
and  miserable,  so  is  it  but  a  small  gift  and  of 
little  value.  Nevertheless,  such  as  it  is,  since 
it  is  Thy  pleasure  to  have  it  and  Thy  goodness 
doth  ask  it  of  me,  saying  :  Praebe  mihi  cor  tuum  ; 
that  is  to  say  :  '  Give  me  thy  heart ' — I  freely 
give  it  unto  Thee,  and  I  most  humbly  beseech 


Thy  goodness  and  mercy  to  accept  it,  and  so  to 
order  me  by  Thy  grace,  that  I  may  receive  into 
it  the  love  of  nothing  contrary  to  Thy  pleasure, 
but  that  I  always  may  keep  the  fire  of  Thy  love, 
avoiding  from  it  all  other  contrary  love  that 
may  in  any  wise  displease  Thee." 

The  Final  Conclusion  of  All 
Now  then,  good  sister,  I  trust  that  these  con- 
siderations, if  you  often  read  them  with  good 
deliberation,  and  truly  imprint  them  in  your 
remembrance,  they  will  somewhat  inflame  your 
heart  with  the  love  of  Christ  Jesu,  and  that  love 
once  established  in  you  all  the  other  points  and 
ceremonies  of  your  religion  shall  be  easy  unto 
you,  and  no  wit  painful ;  you  shall  then  com- 
fortably do  everything  that  to  good  religion 
appertaineth,  without  any  great  weariness. 
Nevertheless,  if  it  so  fortune  that  you  at  any 
time  begin  to  feel  any  dulness  of  mind,  quicken 
it  again  by  the  meditation  of  death,  which  I 
send  you  here  before,  or  else  by  some  effectual 
prayer  earnestly  calling  for  help  and  succour 
upon  the  most  sweet  Jesu,  thinking,  as  it  is  in- 
deed, that  is  your  necessity  and  that  no  where 
else  you  can  have  any  help  but  of  Him.  And  if 
you  will  use  these  short  prayers  following,  for 
every  day  in  the  week  one,  I  think  it  shall  be 


unto  you  profitable.  For  thus  you  may  in  your 
heart  shortly  pray,  what  company  soever  you 
be  amongst. 

The  Prayers  be  these : 
O  BLESSED  Jesu,  make  me  to  love  Thee  entirely. 

O  blessed  Jesu,  I  would  fain,  but  without 
Thy  help  I  cannot. 

O  blessed  Jesu,  let  me  deeply  consider  the 
greatness  of  Thy  love  towards  me. 

O  blessed  Jesu,  give  unto  me  grace  heartily 
to  thank  Thee  for  Thy  benefits. 

O  blessed  Jesu,  give  me  good  will  to  serve 
Thee,  and  to  suffer. 

O  sweet  Jesu,  give  me  a  natural  remem- 
brance of  Thy  passion. 

O  sweet  Jesu,  possess  my  heart,  hold  and 
keep  it  only  to  Thee. 

These  short  prayers  if  you  will  often  say, 
and  with  all  the  power  of  your  soul  and  heart, 
they  shall  marvellously  kindle  in  you  this  love, 
so  that  it  shall  be  always  fervent  and  quick, 
the  which  is  my  especial  desire  to  know  in  you. 
For  nothing  may  be  to  my  comfort  more  than  to 
hear  of  your  furtherance  and  profiting  in  God 
and  in  good  religion,  the  which  our  blessed 
Lord  grant  you  for  His  great  mercy.     Amen. 

A  Sermon 

Vcrie  fruitful!,  godly,  and  learned,  upon  thys 
sentence  of  the  Prophet  Ezechiell,  **La- 
mentationes.  Carmen,  et  vae,**  very  aptely 
applyed  unto  the  passion  of  Christ:  Preach' 
ed  upon  a  good  Friday,  by  the  same  John 
Fisher,  Bishop  of  Rochester 

The  Prophet  Ezechiel  telleth  that  he  saw  a 
book  spread  before  him,  the  which  was  written 
both  within  and  without,  and  there  was  written 
also  in  it,  "Lamentationes,  Carmen,  et  vae,"  that 
is  to  say  :  "  Lamentation,  song  and  woe."  This 
was  a  wonderful  book  and  much  to  be  mar- 
velled upon.  Much  comfortable  knowledge 
and  sweetness  this  Prophet  got  by  this  book  (as 
he  sailh  in  the  chapter  next  ensuing,  Factum  est 
m  ore  meo  sictit  mel  dulce — "  This  book  was  in 
my  mouth  as  sweet  as  honey."  This  book  ta 
our  purpose  may  be  taken  unto  us,  the  Crucifix, 
the  which  doubtless  is  a  marvellous  book,  as  we 
shall  shew  hereafter. 

In  the  which  if  we  do  exercise  our  admira- 
tion, we  shall  come  to  wonderful  knowledge^ 


Marvelling  was  the  cause  why  that  the  philoso- 
phers came  to  so  great  knowledge  as  they  had. 
They  beheld  and  saw  many  wonderful  things 
and  effects  in  this  world,  as  the  marvellous 
earthquakes,  thunders,  lightnings,  snow,  rain  and 
frost,  blazing  stars,  the  eclipses  of  the  sun  and  of 
the  moon,  and  such  other  effects.  And  those 
marvellous  wonders  moved  them  to  search  for 
the  causes  of  the  same.  And  so  by  diligent 
search  and  inquisition  they  came  to  great  know- 
ledge and  cunning,  which  cunning  men  call 
philosophy  natural.  But  there  is  another  higher 
philosophy  which  is  above  nature,  which  is  also 
gotten  with  marvelling,  and  this  is  the  very 
philosophy  of  Christian  people.  And  doubtless 
amongst  all  other  things  concerning  a  Christian 
man,  it  is  a  thing  much  marvellous,  and  most 
wonderful,  that  the  Son  of  God,  for  the  love 
that  He  had  unto  the  soul  of  man,  would  suffer 
Himself  to  be  crucified,  and  so  to  take  upon 
Him  that  most  painful  death  upon  the  Cross. 
Of  this  the  prophet  Habacuc  sayeth  :  Admi- 
ramini  et  obstupescite,  quia  opus  factum  est  in 
diebus  vestris  quod  nemo  credet  quum  narrabitur 
— "Marvel  and  wonder  you,  for  a  work  is  done 
in  your  days,  which  when  it  shall  be  shewed, 
no  man  will  believe." 

Is  it  not  a   wonderful  thing  that  He  that 


is  most  to  be  dreaded  and  feared,  would  be 
in  so  much  fear  that  for  very  fear  and  dread 
of  pain  He  had  to  suffer,  He  sweat  water  and 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
was  most  inestimable  in  price,  and  most  precious, 
would  suffer  His  body  to  be  sold  for  so  little  a 
price  as  for  the  value  of  thirty  pence  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
is  the  Lord  of  heaven  and  earth  and  all 
other  creatures,  would  suffer  Himself  to  be 
bound  of  those  villains  with  ropes  like  a  thief  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
hath  so  great  might  and  power  would  suffer 
Himself  to  be  taken  of  His  cruel  and  mortal 
enemies,  and  so  led  unto  all  these  pains  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
is  the  Judge  of  all  the  world  would  thus  wrong- 
fully be  judged  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
had  in  Him  all  wisdom  would  thus  be  mocked 
and  reputed  as  a  fool  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
is  so  strong  and  mighty  would  be  made  so 
weak  and  feeble  that  He  fell  under  the  weight 
and  burthen  of  the  Cross  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
is  the  Lord  of  Angels  would  be  spitted   and 

62  ^  SERMON  ON  THE  Py4SSI0J^ 

bobbed  of  a  sort  of  lorels  *  in  that  most  de- 
spiteful manner? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that  is 
the  King  of  everlasting  glory  would  suffer  His 
head  in  mockery  to  be  crowned  with  thorns  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that 
giveth  life  to  every  creature  would  suffer  this 
most  shameful,  sorrowful  and  so  painful 
death  ? 

Is  it  not  a  wonderful  thing  that  He  that  is 
the  Lord  and  author  of  all  liberty  would  thus 
be  bound  with  ropes  and  nailed  hand  and  foot 
unto  the  Cross  ? 

Thus  who  that  list  with  a  meek  heart  and  a 
true  faith  to  muse  and  to  marvel  of  this  most 
wonderful  book  (I  say  of  the  Crucifix),  he  shall 
come  to  more  fruitful  knowledge  than  many 
other  which  daily  study  upon  their  common 
books.  This  book  may  suffice  for  the  study  of 
a  true  Christian  man  all  the  days  of  his  life.  In 
this  book  he  may  find  all  things  that  be  neces- 
sary to  the  health  of  his  soul.  St  Francis 
could  pass  his  time  with  this  book  and  was 
never  weary  thereof,  and  his  great  study  was  in 
the  compass  of  a  few  words,  Quis  tu^  et  quis  ego^ 
JDomine  ?  that  is  to  say,  "  Who  art  Thou,  Lord, 

*  Low,  worthless  fellows. 


and  who  am  I  ?  "  This  thought  always  did 
run  from  himself  to  Christ,  and  again  from 
Christ  unto  himself.  And  so  ever  he  marvelled 
of  the  most  excellent  nobleness  of  Christ,  and 
compared  it  with  his  own  naughtiness,  always 
marvelling  that  Christ,  being  of  so  incomparable 
worthiness,  would  suffer  that  most  painful  death 
for  so  unworthy  sinners ;  which  lesson  is  so 
plain  and  so  common  that  every  man,  be  he  never 
so  simple,  may  somewhat  profit  in  it.  And, 
again,  it  is  so  high  that  few  can  attain  to  reach 
to  the  special  fruit  of  it.  This  holy  St  Francis 
so  profited  in  this  lesson  that  it  caused  in  his 
heart  such  a  fervent  love,  such  a  devotion,  such 
an  affection  to  Christ,  that  the  capital  wounds 
which  he  beheld  in  the  hands  and  feet  and  side 
of  Christ  were  by  miracle  imprinted  in  his  own 
hands  and  feet.  This  thing  the  Bishop  of 
Rome,  Innocent,*  and  his  cardinals  did  see,  and 
had  very  proof  thereof. 

The    meditation    and   imagination   of   this 
book  was  so  earnest  and  so  continual  that  the 

*  Pope  Innocent  III.  is  here  referred  to.  This 
statement  of  Fisher  is  not  quite  accurate,  as  the  date 
of  the  Stigmata  is  commonly  fixed  about  the  year 
1224  and  Innocent  died  in  1216.  Alexander  IV.  was 
the  Pope  who  saw  the  Stigmata  in  St  Francis'  life- 
time. St  Bonaventure  assures  us  that  he  had  this 
information  from  Alexander's  own  lips. 

64  tA  SERMON  ON  THE  P^SSIO:^ 

tokens  of  the  five  wounds  of  Christ  were  im- 
printed and  engraved  in  this  holy  saint's  body. 
But  to  this  high  fruit  (as  I  said)  few  or  none 
besides  him  doth  attain.  It  is  a  singular  gift 
of  Almighty  God,  and  not  common  to  be 
looked  for  of  other  persons.  Nevertheless,  who 
that  will  exercise  this  lesson,  though  he  come 
not  to  this  high  point  of  perfection,  he  shall, 
nevertheless,  greatly  profit  in  the  same  and 
come  to  a  great  knowledge,  both  of  Christ  and 
of  himself.  A  man  may  easily  say  and  think 
with  himself  (beholding  in  his  heart  the  image 
of  the  Crucifix)  :  "  Who  art  Thou,  and  who  am 
I  ?  "  Thus  every  person,  both  rich  and  poor, 
may  think,  not  only  in  the  Church  here,  but  in 
every  other  place,  and  in  his  business  where- 
about he  goeth.  Thus  the  poor  labourer  may 
think,  when  he  is  at  plough  earing  *  his  ground, 
and  when  he  goeth  to  his  pastures  to  see  his 
cattle,  or  when  he  is  sitting  at  home  by  his  fire- 
side, or  else  when  he  lieth  in  his  bed  waking 
and  cannot  sleep.  Likewise  the  rich  man  may 
do  in  his  business  that  concerneth  him.  And 
the  poor  women  also  in  their  business,  when 
they  be  spinning  of  their  rocks  f  or  serving  of 

*  Tilling. 

+  The   rock  was  a   staff  held  in  the  hand,  from 
which  the  wool  was  spun,  by  turning  a  ball  below. 


their  pullen.*  The  rich  women  also  in  every 
lawful  occupation  that  they  have  to  do.  It  is 
an  easy  thing  for  any  man  or  woman  to  make 
these  two  questions  with  themselves  :  '*  O  my 
Lord,  that  wouldest  die  for  me  upon  a  cross, 
how  noble  and  excellent  art  Thou  ! "  and 
again,  "  How  wretched  and  miserable  am  I  1  '* 
Doubtless,  O  thou  Christian  soul,  He  that  hung 
for  thy  sake  on  the  cross  was  verily  the  Son  of 
God,  as  the  noble  centurion  said  when,  at  the 
death  of  Christ,  he  saw  so  many  wonderful 
tokens;  he  saw  the  sun  withdraw  his  light,  and 
the  air  in  darkness,  and  felt  all  the  earth  tremble 
and  quake  and  the  stones  break  asunder,  then 
he  said  :  Vere  Filius  Dei  erat  iste^  that  is  to  say, 
'*  Verily  this  person  was  the  Son  of  God." 
Think  with  thyself,  O  Christian  soul,  how  great 
a  person  He  is  that  is  the  Son  of  God.  And 
think  again  how  villainous  and  how  wretched 
thou  art  in  comparison  of  Him.  What  art  thou 
but  ashes  ?  cinis  es^  and  unto  ashes  thou  shalt 
return,  et  in  cinerem  reverteris,  Abraham,  who 
was  a  man  of  high  perfection,  yet  when  he 
should  speak  unto  Almighty  God  he  said : 
Quum  sum  pulvis  et  citiiSy  loquar  ad  Domifiu?ny 
that  is  to  say,  "  I  am  but  dust  and  ashes,  and 
yet  I  must  speak  unto  my  Lord."     David  also 

*  i.e.,  poultry. 


saith  :  Universa  vanitas  omnis  homo  vivens^  that 
is  to  say,  "  Man  containeth  in  him  all  vanity." 
Furthermore,  Job  speaketh  of  man,  saying  in 
this  manner  :  Qui  quasi flos  egrcditur,  et  conteri- 
tur,  et  fugit  velui  utnbra — "  Man  is  like  a  flower, 
he  doth  issue  forth  into  the  world,  and  soon 
after  he  is  trodden  down,  and  so,  finally,  he 
passeth  like  a  shadow."  Man  is  but  earth  and 
ashes,  and  shall  pass  away  like  a  shadow  and 
like  a  mere  vanity. 

Contrariwise,  Christ  was,  is,  and  ever  shall 
be,  the  Prince  of  heaven,  the  Lord  of  angels 
and  the  Creator  of  all  creatures.  Qui  fecit 
ccelwn  et  terram  et  omnia  quce.  in  eis  sunt — He 
made  heaven  and  earth  and  all  that  is  in  them. 
His  power  is  infinite  and  most  to  be  dreaded — 
Omnipotens  rex  et  metuendus  nitJiis.  His  wis- 
dom is  incomprehensible — O  altitude  divitiarum 
sapientice  et  sciefitice  Dei,  His  greatness  passeth 
all  measure — Magnus  Dominus  et  laudabilis 
nifnis,  et  magnitudinis  ejus  nan  est  finis.  Shortly 
to  say,  when  a  man  hath  spoken  or  thought  all 
that  can  be  to  the  praise  of  His  excellency,  yet 
He  doth  far  pass  and  surmount  all  that,  as  the 
Scripture  saith  :  Glorificantes  Dofninum,  quan- 
tumcumque  poteritis,  supervalebit  adhuc^  et  admi- 
rabilis  magnificentia  illius. 

Now  then,  O  thou  sinful  creature,  marvel  at 


His  excellent  worthiness,  that  was  thus  cruci- 
fied. And  marvel  also  at  thy  naughtiness,  for 
whose  love  He  was  thus  crucified.  Thus,  I 
say,  did  the  holy  St  Francis  :  Quis  es  tu,  et 
quis  sum  ego^  Domine  ? — "  Who  art  Thou,  my 
Lord  so  excellent,  and  who  am  I,  for  whom 
Thou  wouldest  endure  all  this  pain.?  " 

O  Christian  soul,  often  behold  this  book 
and  say  with  this  holy  man:  Quis  es  tu,  et  quis 
sum  ego?  Marvel  that  His  inestimable  good- 
ness would  thus  die  for  so  miserable  a  vanity. 
And  so  marvelling,  thou  shalt  profit  in  a  gra- 
cious knowledge  of  Christ,  and  thy  heart  shall 
taste  marvellous  sweetness  and  be  replenished 
with  a  devout  savour  of  His  most  excellent 
goodness.  But  you  marvel,  peradventure,  why 
I  call  the  Crucifix  a  book  ?  I  will  now  tell  you 
the  consideration  why.  A  book  hath  boards, 
leaves,  lines,  writings,  letters,  both  small  and 
great.  First,  I  say,  that  a  book  hath  two 
boards  :  the  two  boards  of  this  book  are  the 
two  parts  of  the  cross,  for  when  the  book  is 
opened  and  spread,  the  leaves  be  couched  upon 
the  boards.  And  so  the  blessed  body  of  Christ 
was  spread  upon  the  cross. 

The  leaves  of  this  book  be  the  arms,  the 
hands,  legs  and  feet,  with  the  other  members  of 
His  most  precious  and  blessed  body. 


Never  any  parchment  skin  was  more 
Straightly  stretched  by  strength  upon  the  tentors 
than  was  this  blessed  body  upon  the  cross. 
These  lorells  that  crucified  Him  drew  by  vio- 
lence His  most  precious  arms  with  ropes  unto 
either  branch  of  the  cross,  that  the  sinews 
burst  asunder,  and  so  nailed  His  hands  fast 
with  spiking  nails  of  iron  unto  the  cross.  After 
they  stretched  His  feet  likewise  unto  another 
hole  beneath  in  the  cross,  and  there  nailed 
them  with  the  third  nail  through  both  His  feet. 
And  so  they  reared  up  this  body  aloft  against 
the  sun,  even  as  a  parchment  skin  is  set  forth 
before  the  heat  of  the  sun  to  dry.  It  was  set  up 
aloft  to  the  intent  that  all  the  world  might  look 
upon  this  book. 

This  book  was  written  within  and  without. 
First,  within  was  written  but  one  word  ;  never- 
theless this  one  word  compriseth  in  it,  as  saith 
St  Paul,  the  whole  treasure  of  all  cunning  and 
wisdom  pertaining  unto  God,  In  quo  sunt  omnes 
thesauri  sapientice.  Dei — "  In  whom  are  all  the 
treasures  of  the  wisdom  of  God."  Of  this  word  St 
John  speaketh,  saying  :  In principio  erat  Verbum 
— "The  Word  was  in  the  beginning,  before  all 
creatures."  This  Word  is  the  second  Person  in 
the  Godhead,  the  Son  of  God,  which  by  the 
Holy  Ghost  was  written  in  the  inward  side  of 


this  parchment.  For  the  Godhead  of  Christ 
was  covered  and  hidden  under  the  likeness  of 
man.  The  Holy  Ghost  was  the  pen  of  Al- 
mighty God  the  Father ;  He  set  His  most 
mighty  word  unto  the  body  of  Christ  within  the 
womb  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  and  so  this  book 
was  written  within. 

For  as  St  Paul  sayeth  :  Si  cogtiovt'sseni,  num- 
quam  Dominum  gloriae  crucifixissent,  that  is  to 
say,  "  If  they  had  known  the  Son  of  God,  which 
was  and  is  the  Lord  of  everlasting  glory,  they 
would  never  have  crucified  Him."  They  saw 
His  manhood  which  was  in  outward  sight,  but 
they  saw  not  His  Godhead,  which  was  covered 
within  the  same.  The  Godhead  was  the  in- 
ward side,  and  the  manhood  was  the  outward 
side.  Furthermore,  when  a  book  is  spread, 
you  see  that  in  the  leaves  are  many  lines  drawn. 
And  many  letters,  some  red,  some  black  and 
some  blue ;  so  in  this  book  (the  most  blessed 
body  of  Christ)  were  drawn  many  lines,  for  it 
was  all  scourged  with  whips,  so  that  everywhere 
the  print  of  the  cords  of  the  scourges  was  left 
behind,  and  that  in  every  place,  from  the  neck 
downward  unto  the  soles  of  His  feet,  so  that 
there  was  no  margin  left  in  all  this  book,  there 
was  no  void  place,  but  everywhere  it  was 
either  drawn   with   lines  or   else    written   with 

70  ^  SERMON  ON  THE  P^SST03^ 

letters ;  for  these  scourges  filled  not  only  His 
most  precious  body  with  lines  drawn  every- 
where, but  also  left  many  small  letters,  some 
black,  some  blue,  some  red.  For  the  blood,  by 
the  violence  of  the  scourges,  sprung  out  in 
every  place.  And  for  because  no  part  of  this 
book  should  be  unwritten.  His  head  also  was 
pierced  with  sharp  thorns. 

These  cruel  Jews  put  upon  His  head  a 
crown  of  thorns,  and  pressed  it  down  upon  the 
same  as  hard  as  they  might  press  it  by  violence, 
beating  it  down  with  a  strong  reed.  £t  arun- 
dtne  percutiebant  caput  ejus.  And  His  blessed 
head  so  crowned,  they  did  beat  it  down  with  a 
gadde  or  a  hard  reed. 

Thus  you  perceive  that  this  book  was  full 
of  lines  and  small  letters  (which  were  of  divers 
colours,  as  I  said),  some  black,  some  blue, 
some  red,  some  bluish,  that  is  to  say,  full  of 
strokes  and  lashes,  whereby  the  skin  was  torn 
and  rent  in  a  thousand  places.  Besides  these 
small  letters  yet  was  there  also  great  capital 
letters  preciously  illumined  with  roset  colour ; 
roset  is  a  red  colour  like  unto  the  colour  of  a 
rose,  which  colour  that  most  precious  blood 
which  issued  out  of  His  hands  and  feet  doth 
represent  unto  us;  with  this  most  precious  blood 
was  illumined  the  five  great  capital  letters  in 


this  wonderful  book.  I  mean  by  these  capital 
letters  the  great  wounds  of  His  body,  in  His 
hands,  and  in  His  feet,  and  in  His  side. 

These  five  great  wounds  were  engraved  with 
sharp  and  violent  pens,  that  is  to  say,  the  sharp 
nails  and  the  spear.  And  they  do  represent 
unto  us  the  five  capital  letters  of  this  book. 
Thus  then  you  may  perceive  what  be  the 
boards  of  this  book,  and  wliat  be  the  leaves  ; 
how  it  is  written  within  and  without;  how  it  is 
lined  and  leathered,  and  what  be  the  letters, 
as  well  the  small  as  the  great.  Now  we  shall 
hear  what  manner  of  writing  is  contained  in 
this  book.  But  first  here  let  us  make  our 
prayer  for  grace,  beseeching  Almighty  God  to 
give  unto  our  hearts  the  gracious  light  of  His 
beams,  whereby  we  may  the  more  clearly  per- 
ceive the  writings  of  this  book,  and  that  they 
may  bring  forth  some  good  fruit  to  our  souls' 

Now  you  shall  hear  what  writings  be  con- 
tained in  this  book.  In  the  book  which  Ezechiel 
did  see,  were  written  three  manner  of  things  : 
Lamentaitofies,  Car?nen,  et  vae,  which  is  to  say, 
lamentations,  songs  and  woe.  And  the  same 
three  things  in  like  manner  are  written  in  this 
book  of  the  Crucifix.  First  is  lamentation,  and 
this  very  conveniently  is  written  in  this  book  of 


the  Crucifix.  For  whosoever  will  joy  with 
Christ  must  first  sorrow  with  Him.  And  by 
sorrow  and  lamentation  he  may  come  unto  joy  j 
but  he  that  will  not  sorrow  and  lament  with 
Christ  here  in  this  life,  he  shall  come  finally  to 
the  place  where  is  everlasting  woe,  I  say  woe 
that  shall  never  have  end.  Here  therefore  is 
written  all  these  three,  lamentation,  song  and 

First  then  we  will  speak  of  lamentation. 
Lamentation  ariseth  of  four  affections,  either  of 
a  great  fear  or  dread,  or  of  a  great  shame,  or 
of  some  sorrow,  or  else  of  some  hatred.  When 
Holophernes  with  a  mighty  power  was  entered 
into  the  country  of  Jewry,  and  terribly  threatened 
to  destroy  all  before  him,  the  people  were  in 
a  great  fear  and  dread  to  be  oppressed,  and  so 
fell  down  before  Almighty  God,  and  with  great 
lamentation  did  call  for  His  help.  Omnis 
populus  cecidit  in  faciem^  adorantes  Dominum 
cum  lamentatione  et  fletu — "All  the  people  fell 
on  their  faces,  worshipping  our  Lord  with  weep- 
ing and  lamentation." 

The  cause  of  this  lamentation  was  the  great 
dread  which  they  were  in.  Here  first  then  let 
us  learn  to  dread;  and  doubtless,  thou  Christian 
soul,  thou  mayest  here  learn  greater  matter  of 
dread  than  the  Jews  then  were  in  \  for  the  Jews 


then  were  only  in  peril  of  temporal  death,  thou 
art  in  peril  of  everlasting  death. 

Consider,  man,  how  grievously  thou  hast 
sinned  ;  and  also  behold  how  grievously  sin  was 
revenged  and  punished  in  the  blessed  body  of 
Christ.  And  thou  shalt  anon  find  here  great 
cause  and  matter  of  dread.  The  stories  telleth 
of  Cambyses  the  King  of  Persia,  that  where 
one  of  his  judges  had  given  a  false  and  a  wrong 
judgement,  he  deprived  him  of  his  office,  and 
made  another  in  his  place  their  judge  after  him. 
Furthermore,  because  of  his  falsehood  he  caused 
him  to  be  slain,  and  his  skin  to  be  hanged  up 
before  the  place  of  the  common  judgement,  to 
the  intent  that  this  new  judge,  beholding  the 
grievous  punishment  of  his  predecessor,  might 
beware  of  falsehood,  and  always  dread  to  give 
any  wrong  judgement.  In  like  manner  the 
image  of  the  Crucifix  is  hung  up  in  every 
churcii  to  the  intent  that  we  may  see  how 
grievously  sin  was  punished  in  that  most 
blessed  body  of  our  Saviour  Christ  Jesu  :  not 
for  Himself,  nor  for  His  own  sin,  but  for  ours 
was  He  thus  cruelly  treated  :  we  were  the  cause, 
we  committed  the  sin.  But  yet  nevertheless 
He  bare  the  pains  and  burthens  of  our  sins 
upon  His  back. 

As  writeth  St  Peter :  Peccaia  nostra  ipsepettulit 


m  corpore  suo  super  lignum  cruets.  And  there- 
fore when  we  behold  the  image  of  the  Crucifix 
in  any  place  set  up,  we  should  think  how 
grievously  sin  was  punished  in  the  body  of  our 
Saviour  Christ.  And  thereby  learn  to  dread  the 
grievous  punishment  of  sin.  Alas,  man,  thinkest 
thou  not  that  this  was  matter  of  dread  ?  This  I 
say,  that  the  very  Son  of  God  was  for  thy  sin 
put  unto  this  cruel  death  of  the  cross  :  if  thou 
believe  not  this,  thou  art  worse  than  the  devils. 
For,  as  St  James  sayeth,  daefnones  credunt  et 
contremiscunt,  *'  The  devils  do  believe  and 
tremble."  And  if  thou  verily  believe  it,  thou 
mayest  thereby  think  and  learn  how  much  our 
Saviour  and  His  Father  both  do  hate  sin.  For 
sith  Almighty  God  the  Father  would  give  His 
most  dearly  beloved  Son  unto  such  an  horrible 
death,  only  for  to  quench  and  to  extinguish  sin, 
thou  mayest  be  sure  that  He  hateth  sin  very 

Our  Saviour  also  must  needs  hate  sin,  when 
He  rather  would  suffer  this  most  villainous  death 
than  that  sin  should  have  dominion  upon  our 
souls.  Seeing  then  that  thou  knowest  that  both 
they  hate  sin,  how  shouldest  thou  dread  to 
receive  any  sin  into  thy  soul  ?  If  sin  were  so 
displeasant  to  Almighty  God  the  Father  that 
rather  than  He  would  suffer  it,  He  would  give 


His  own  Son  unto  death  for  the  expulsion  of  it ; 
how  much  rather  now  doth  it  displease  Him, 
when  His  Son  hath  suffered  death  therefor, 
and  yet  sin  reigneth  nevertheless,  and  more 
generally  than  ever  it  did  before. 

Furthermore, if  sin  was  so  grievouslypunished 
in  Him  that  never  did  sin,  how  bitterly  shall  it 
be  punished  in  thee,  O  sinful  creature,  the  which 
hast  done  so  many  great  outrageous  sins  ?  Surely 
where  He  hath  one  nail  in  His  hands  and  feet, 
thou  sinful  creature  hast  deserved  one  hundred. 
And  for  every  one  thorn  that  He  suffered  in 
His  head,  thou  hast  deserved  a  thousand.  And 
for  every  one  lash  that  He  felt  of  the  scourges, 
thou  art  worthy  to  have  innumerable. 

Who  that  deeply  considereth  this  that  I  have 
said,  and  with  an  earnest  study  resorteth  often  to 
look  upon  this  book,  I  marvel  if  he  do  not  find 
herein  great  cause  and  earnest  matter  of  dread. 

Here  also  may  every  sinner  quicken  his  sin, 
if  any  lie  within  his  breast,  for  it  is  marvel  that 
a  sinner  can  without  shame  behold  this  blessed 
image.  If  a  sinner  call  to  remembrance  his 
great  unkindness,  and  repute  the  same  unkind- 
ness  any  manner  of  vice,  I  trow  that  he  will  be 
much  ashamed  of  his  most  unkind  and  ungentle 
dealing  against  so  loving  a  Lord. 

Say  to  me,  thou  sinful  creature,  wilt  thou 

76  ^  SERMON  ON  THE  P^SSIO:}(^ 

not  look  that  other  men,  when  thou  hast  been 
unto  them  in  anything  beneficial,  I  say,  wilt 
thou  not  look  that  they  shall  be  kind  and  loving 
unto  thee  again?  And  if  any  person  be  unkind 
unto  thee,  wilt  thou  not  rebuke  him  fully,  and 
lay  it  unto  his  reproof  to  make  him  ashamed 
thereof?  I  am  sure  that  thou  wilt.  Now  then 
let  me  see,  where  is  thy  shame  ?  Behold  and 
view  every  part  of  this  blessed  body  ;  what  pain 
it  endured  for  thy  sake  ! 

Seest  thou  not  His  eyes,  how  they  be  filled 
with  blood  and  bitter  tears  ? 

Seest  thou  not  His  ears,  how  they  be  filled 
with  blasphemous  rebukes  and  opprobrious 
words  ? 

His  cheek  and  neck  with  buffets,  His 
shoulders  with  the  burthen  of  the  cross? 

Seest  thou  not  His  mouth,  how  in  His  dry- 
ness they  would  have  filled  it  with  asell  *  and 

Seest  thou  not  how  His  back  is  pained 
against  the  hard  cross  ? 

Seest  thou  not  His  sides,  how  they  were 
scourged  with  sharp  whips  ? 

Seest  thou  not  His  arms,  how  they  were 
strained  by  the  violence  of  the  ropes  ? 

*  i.e.,  vinegar. 


Seest  thou  not  His  hands,  how  they  be 
nailed  just  unto  the  cross? 

Seest  thou  not  His  legs,  how  they  be  wearied 
with  labour  ? 

Seest  thou  not  His  feet,  how  painfully  they 
stay  and  bear  up  the  weight  of  His  whole 
body  ? 

O  most  unkind  sinner,  all  this  He  suffered 
for  thy  sake.  No  greater  kindness  ever  was  or 
could  be  shewed  to  thee  by  any  creature  than 
this,  which  sweet  Jesus  did  show  for  thee  and 
for  thy  sake,  and  where  is  now  thy  kindness 
again  ? 

No  kindness  thou  canst  shew,  but  much 
unkindness  thou  hast  often  shewed  unto  Him, 
and  yet  thou  art  not  ashamed.  Alas  !  man, 
where  is  thy  shame  ?  Think  with  thyself  how 
many  abominable  sins  thou  hast  done  against 
His  pleasure.  I  do  ascertain  thee  that  the 
least  of  them  striketh  Him  more  painfully  unto 
the  heart  than  any  unkindness  that  ever  was 
done  unto  thee  in  all  thy  life. 

For,  as  St  Bernard  saith  in  the  person  of 
Christ,  when  he  hath  rehearsed  all  the  grievous 
pains  of  His  Passion,  he  putteth  unto  these 
words  :  Extat  inferius  planctus  praegravtor,  quum 
te  ingraium  experior^  that  is  to  say,  but  in- 
wardly mourning  is  much  more  grievous  be- 

78  ^  SERMON  ON  THE  PASSlOO^i 

cause  I  perceive  thou  art  to  me  so  mucli 
unkind.  So  many  sins,  so  much  unkindness, 
and  the  more  heinous  and  the  more  accustom- 
able  that  they  be,  the  more  abominable  is  thine 

If  the  least  of  many  of  thy  sins  had  come  to 
light  and  to  the  knowledge  of  men,  thou  wouldst 
have  been  sore  ashamed  of  them.  Christ 
knoweth  them  and  saw  thee  do  them,  for 
Omnia  nuda  et  aperta  sunt  oculis  ejus — "All 
things  be  naked  and  open  before  His  eyes  " ; 
and  yet  thou  art  not  ashamed  of  all  thy  un- 

Alas,  man,  hear  what  the  king  and  prophet 
saith  :  Tota  die  verecundia  viea  contra  me  est, 
et confusio  faciei meae  co-operuit  me — "All  the  day 
long  my  shame  is  before  me,  and  my  face  is 
covered  with  confusion."  Thus  said  this  holy 
king,  when  our  Saviour  as  yet  had  not  suffered 
His  Passion  for  him. 

This  high  point  of  kindness  was  not  as  yet 
shewed  unto  this  man  by  our  Saviour  Christ, 
and  he,  nevertheless,  was  ashamed  of  his  sin. 
Thou  hast,  peradventure,  done  much  more  out- 
rageous sin,  and  hast  been  much  more  unkind 
after  this  His  most  wonderful  Passion  suffered 
for  thy  sake  than  ever  that  king  was,  and  that 
also  maketh  thy  sin  much  more  horrible.   Thou 


hast  after  thy  promise  made  unto  Him,  falsified 
the  same  promise  and  untruly  broken  it  by 
multiplying  of  many  foul  and  abominable  sins 
and  by  often  renewing  of  the  same.  Thou 
didst  promise  once  at  the  Sacrament  of  Baptism 
to  keep  thy  faith  and  truth  unto  thy  Saviour 
and  to  forsake  the  devil  and  all  his  works.  An 
honest  man  or  an  honest  woman  would  be 
much  ashamed  to  break  their  promise,  and 
specially  to  their  friend.  Albeit  the  world  is 
now  full  of  such  lorells,  that  do  no  more  re- 
gard to  break  their  promise  than  for  to  drink 
when  they  be  dry.  How  often  hast  thou 
broken  thy  promise  ?  Alas,  man,  learn  to  be 
ashamed,  and  say  with  the  Prophet  Esdras : 
Deus  mgus,  confundor  et  erubesco  levare  facievi 
mgam,  quoniam  uiiquitaies  nostrae  levatae  sunt 
super  caput  nostrum,  that  is  to  say,  "  O  my  God, 
I  am  confounded  and  ashamed  to  lift  up  my  face 
unto  Thee,  for  our  sins  be  risen  far  above  our 
heads."  Ye  women,  when  there  is  any  black 
spot  in  your  faces,  or  any  moole  *  in  your  ker- 
chiefs, or  any  mire  upon  your  clothes,  be  you 
not  ashamed?  Yes  forsooth,  sir;  but  I  shall 
tell  you  whereof  you  ought  to  be  ashamed. 
Surely,  if  your  souls  have  any  spots  of  deadly 

*  i.e.,  any  stain  on  your  head-dress. 

8o  U  SERMON  ON  THE  Pj4SSI0:Hi 

sin  in  them,  for  when  our  Saviour  so  dearly 
with  His  most  precious  blood,  and  with  all  these 
grievous  pains,  did  wash  and  wipe  and  cleanse 
our  souls  from  every  spot  of  deadly  sin,  ye 
should  be  much  ashamed  to  defile  them  again. 
If  you  be  ashamed  for  a  foul,  miry  shoe,  and 
not  of  a  foul,  stinking  soul,  ye  make  more 
dearer  your  shoes  than  your  souls.  If  ye  be 
ashamed  of  a  spot  in  your  clothes  and  have  no 
shame  for  many  great  blots  in  your  souls,  what 
shall  I  say  but,  J^rons  meretricis  facta  est  tibi,  no- 
luisti  erubescere^  that  is  to  say,  "  Thou  hast 
taken  upon  thee  the  face  of  a  brothel,  thou 
wilt  not  be  ashamed."  If  thou  then  deeply  con- 
sider how  many  shameful  blots  of  sin  be  in  thy 
soul  before  the  eyes  of  Almighty  God  and  all 
the  glorious  court  of  heaven,  and  how  by  them 
thou  hast  utterly  broken  thy  promise  unto  God 
and  committed  so  great  unkindness  against  this 
most  loving  charity,  that  was  showed  unto  thee 
for  thy  love  and  for  thy  sake  by  our  Saviour  on 
the  cross,  I  suppose  thou  shalt  find  matter  and 
cause  of  great  shame  if  any  sparkle  of  honesty 
be  yet  left  in  thy  soul. 

Thirdly,  thou  mayest  here  take  matter 
enough  of  sorrow,  for  here  your  Saviour 
piteously  crieth  and  complaineth  of  His  great 
sorrow,  saying  :    O  vos  omnes  gut  iransitis  per 


vtam,  attendite  et  vidcte  si  est  dolor  similis  sicut 
dolor  mens — "  All  ye  that  pass  forth  by,  take  heed 
and  see  whether  any  sorrow  was  ever  like  unto 
Mine."  Alas,  to  see  so  noble  a  Man,  so  gentle 
and  so  innocent,  so  cruelly  treated  in  every 
part  of  His  most  delicate  body,  and  to  hear 
Him  so  piteously  complaining,  who  shall  not 
be  sorry  ?  Surely  none,  except  his  heart  be 
harder  than  any  flint  stone  or  adamant  stone. 
These  same  four  points  alone  may  suffice  to 
stir  any  gentle  heart  to  sorrow.  I  say  His 
excellent  nobleness.  His  innocency,  the  cruelty 
that  He  did  suffer  and  His  piteous  complaining. 
If  thou,  O  Christian  man,  sawest  thine  enemy 
thus  mangled  and  wounded,  it  might  stir  thee 
to  take  compassion  upon  him.  If  thou  saw 
any  Jew  or  Saracen  thus  tormented,  it  might 
move  thee  to  pity.  Bat  much  rather  to  see 
thy  Lord,  thy  Saviour,  and  for  thy  sake  thus 
cruelly  treated,  thus  without  any  pity  cruci- 
fied and  pained,  hanging  on  a  cross,  should 
move  thee  to  compassion.  For  say  to  me,  for 
whom  supposest  thou  that  our  Saviour  Christ 
Jesus  suffered  all  those  grievous  pains?  Surely 
for  thy  sin.  Pro  impits  Christus  nwrhius  est* 
For  sinners  Christ  Jesu  died,  there  was  no 
cause  but  sin.     Thy  sin  was  the  cause  of  His 

Rom.  V. 


death ;  thy  sin  gave  Him  His  death's  wound. 
O  sinful  creature,  how  much  cause  hast  thou 
for  to  be  sorry  !  For  thy  sin  was  the  root  and 
fountain  of  all  His  sorrow,  and  yet  thou  ceasest 
not  daily  by  thy  sin  to  increase  His  sorrow. 
O  what  flood  of  tears  did  the  blessed  Magda- 
len shed,  remembering  her  grievous  sin  !  She 
first  conceived  a  great  dread  in  her  soul  for 
her  sin.  Secondly,  she  was  greatly  ashamed 
of  her  abominations  within  her  soul,  for  she 
regarded  much  more  the  inward  shame  of  her 
conscience  than  the  outward  shame  of  the 
world.  And  therefore  she  let  not  in  the  pre- 
sence of  many  persons  to  come  to  the  feet  of 
our  Saviour  and  to  shew  herself  a  sinner,  and 
there  took  great  sorrow  and  wept  full  bitterly 
for  her  sin.  Thus  after  dread  and  shame 
followed  her  sorrow.  And  when  had  she  this 
dread,  shame  and  sorrow  ?  Truly  before  that 
our  Saviour  hung  on  the  cross.  Yet  she 
knew  not  that  her  sin  was  cause  and  occasion 
of  His  most  cruel  death. 

But  when  she  saw  Him  hang  so  painfully 
on  the  cross,  and  considered  that  for  her  sin  He 
suffered  all  the  pains,  her  heart  was  then  so  full 
of  sorrow  that  for  very  pain  it  might  have 

O    thou   sinful  creature  i     If  ihou  cannot 

7/rr  FOR  THE  CRUCIFIED  83 

sorrow,  come  learn  of  this  blessed  woman  to 
sorrow  for  thy  sin.  Think  that  thy  sin  was 
the  cause  and  occasion  of  all  this  pain  and 
sorrow,  that  thy  Lord  and  Saviour  did  suffer 
on  the  cross. 

And  not  only  she  giveth  the  example  of 
sorrow,  but  His  blessed  Mother  abundantly 
then  sorrowed  at  His  death.  St  John  sorrowed, 
St  Peter  sorrowed  and  wept  bitterly.  All  the 
apostles  were  in  sorrow. 

But  whereunto  speak  I  of  reasonable  crea- 
tures ?  The  unreasonable  and  the  unsensible 
creatures  shewed  a  manner  of  sorrow.  The 
earth  quaked,  the  mighty  stones  burst  asunder, 
the  monuments  opened,  the  dead  corpses  is 
sued  out  of  their  monuments. 

All  these  were  moved  with  compassion. 
And  only  thou,  wretched  sinner,  for  whose  cause 
He  suffered  all  this  pain  and  grievance,  hast  no 
pity  nor  compassion  upon  Him. 

Alas,  how  great  is  thy  hardness  !  How 
obstinate  is  thy  heart,  that  will  suffer  no  pity  to 
enter  into  it !  Verily,  thou  art  more  harder 
than  are  the  stones,  for  they  were  moved  by  His 
passion  so  mightily  that  they  broke  asunder. 
Petrae  scissae  sunt.  When  then  the  hard  stones 
and  all  the  other  unreasonable  creatures  were 
thus  moved   and   stirred  to   take  some   com- 


passion  of  the  painful  death  of  Christ,  and  yet 
felt  no  profit  by  His  death,  thou  much  rather 
shouldst  be  moved,  for  whose  love  He  did  en- 
dure all  these  grievous  pains.  Look  thou  there- 
fore upon  this  book,  and  thou  shalt  here  find 
great  cause  and  matter  of  sorrow. 

Fourthly,  if  thou  canst  not  sorrow,  yet 
thou  mayest  here  learn  to  hate.  Thou  mayest 
learn  to  hate  sin,  which  was  cause  of  all 
this  trouble.  It  is  not  for  nought  that  the 
Scripture  saith  ;  Quasi  a  facie  colubri  fuge 
peccahim,  denies  leonis,  de?ites  ejus  interficientis 
animas  hominum — *'  Flee  from  sin,  even  as  thou 
wouldst  flee  from  the  face  of  an  adder,  for  as 
the  teeth  of  the  lion  devoureth  the  body  of 
man,  so  death  doth  slay  their  souls."  Sin  is  so 
odious,  and  so  great  an  injury  to  God,  that  it 
was  necessary  for  the  recompense  of  this  injury 
that  the  Son  of  God  should  suffer  this  most 
painful  death  of  the  cross.  Sin  provoked 
Almighty  God  the  Father  so  deeply  to  dis- 
pleasure and  wrath,  and  to  take  vengeance 
upon  sinners,  that  without  the  sacrifice  of  His 
own  Son  on  the  gibbet  of  the  cross.  He  would 
not  be  appeased  nor  reconciled  unto  sinners 
again.  Sin  so  deadly  wounded  and  blotted 
the  soul  of  man,  that  without  shedding  of  the 
mpst  precious  blood  of  our  Saviour  Christ  Jesu, 


no  life  could  be  restored  unto  sinners,  nor  could 
the  souls  be  washed  from  the  foul  abomi- 
nable corruption  of  sin. 

Sin  so  debarreth  and  shutteth  from  sinners 
the  gates  of  heaven,  that  they  might  not  have 
been  opened,  but  only  by  the  merit  of  this  most 
bitter  passion,  and  suffering  these  most  painful 
torments  on  the  cross.  Sin  set  the  gates  of 
hell  so  wide  open  and  brought  all  this  world 
into  that  danger  and  thraldom  of  the  devil, 
that  we  should  all  have  been  devoured  of  the 
pit  of  hell,  unless  we  had  been  ransomed  with 
this  most  precious  treasure  that  was  shed  for  us 
on  the  cross.  O  sinful  creature,  hast  thou  not 
great  cause  to  hate  sin,  that  hath  brought  thee 
into  that  miserable  condition  that  by  thy  sin 
thou  hast  done  and  committed  high  injury 
against  Almighty  God,  and  hast  provoked  Him 
to  vengeance?  That  by  thy  sin  thou  hast 
thus  mortally  wounded  thine  own  soul  ?  That 
by  sin  thou  hast  brought  thyself  into  the 
danger  of  the  devil,  and  be  damned  in  hell  per- 
petually? That  by  thy  sin  thou  hast  shut 
the  gates  of  heaven  against  thyself?  Alas, 
man,  where  canst  thou  find  greater  occasion  for 
hatred  ? 

If  thy  neighbour  do  unto  thee  but  a  light 
injury,  thou  canst  anon  hate  him  ;  yea,  and  so 



hate  him,  that  thou  wilt  say  thou  mayest  not 
find  in  thy  heart  to  love  him.  Sin  hath  done 
unto  thee  all  these  great  injuries,  and  yet  thou 
lovest  sin,  and  canst  not  hate  it !  Alas,  what 
madness  is  this  !  Joab  said  unto  King  David  : 
Diligis  odientcs  te,  et  odio  habes  diligentes  U — 
"  Thou  lovest  them  that  hate  thee,  and  thou 
hatest  them  that  love  thee."  The  same  word 
may  well  be  said  unto  every  sinner  that  fol- 
loweth  the  course  of  sin ;  and  likewise  vice 
doth  procure  the  destruction  of  sinners,  and 
yet  the  sinners  do  follow  after  them. 

Our  Saviour  with  all  grace  and  virtue  pro- 
cureth  the  salvation  of  sinners,  but  Him  they 
will  not  hear,  nor  take  any  ways  after  His 
counsel.  And  this  is  nothing  else  but  an 
extreme  madness,  for  they  should  contrariwise 
love  our  Saviour,  that  so  loving  for  their  weal 
endured  the  grievous  pains  of  the  cross,  and 
hate  the  devil  and  sin  which  were  the  very 
cause  of  death. 

By  this  then  you  may  perceive  that  in  this 
book  you  may  find  matter  enough  of  lamenta- 
tion, since  you  may  read  in  this  book  so  much 
cause  of  dread,  of  shame,  of  sorrow  and  of 
hatred.  And  this  is  the  first  writing  whereof 
we  promised  to  speak. 

*  2  King-s  xix. 


The  second  writing  that  I  said  was  also 
written  in  this  book,  was  Carmen,  that  is  to  say, 
song.  Surely,  if  either  love,  or  hope,  or  joy,  or 
comfort,  will  make  a  soul  to  sing,  here  he  may 
take  great  occasion  to  sing. 

First,  here  is  great  matter  of  love,  and  so 
great  that  if  any  person  will  either  give  his  love 
freely,  or  else  for  some  certain  price  sell  it,  He 
that  died  on  the  cross  is  best  worthy  to  have  it. 
If  thou  search  in  heaven  and  on  earth  one  person 
upon  whom  thou  rnayest  best  bestow  thy  love, 
thou  shalt  find  none  comparable  unto  Christ 
Jesus,  so  wise,  so  mighty,  so  gentle,  so  kind,  so 
amiable,  far  passing  all  other;  and  there  too  He 
is  much  desirous  of  thy  love.  For  when  Moses 
had  rehearsed  the  great  benefits  which  Almighty 
God  had  given  unto  man,  he  saith  :  E^  nu7ic 
audi  quid  Do  minus  Deus  tuus  requirat  a  te,  nisi 
ut  diligas  mm — '*  Now  hear  what  thy  Lord  God 
doth  require  of  thy  part,  but  that  thou  love 

So  now,  if  thou  wilt  freely  give  thy  love,  thou 
canst  not  more  wisely  nor  better  bestow  it  than 
upon  Him  who  is  so  excellent  and  hath  all  the 
conditions  above  said,  and  there  too  also  is  so 
desirous  to  have  thy  love. 

*  Deut.  X. 

88  e>4  SERMON  ON  THE  PASSI03^ 

And  if  thou  wilt  sell  thy  love,  I  trow  there 
is  none  that  will  give  unto  thee  more  liberally 
for  the  same  than  He  hath  done.  Where  shalt 
thou  find  him  that  will  shed  one  drop  of  blood 
out  of  his  heart  for  thy  sake  ?  Where  shalt  thou 
find  him  that  will  give  his  own  soul  and  life  for 
thy  love?  There  can  no  more  be  asked  of 
any  man  than  that :  Afajorem  charitatem  nemo 
habet  nisi  ut  animam  suam  ponat  quis  pro 
amicis  suis — "  No  man  can  show  greater  charity 
than  to  put  his  own  life  in  jeopardy  for  his 

But,  peradventure,  thou  wilt  say :  "  Sir,  if 
He  had  done  this  for  me  alone,  I  had  been 
bound  then  to  have  given  Him  my  love  wholly 

Why,  man,  art  thou  so  envious,  that  thou 
wouldest  have  no  partners  of  this  most  precious 
death  with  thee,  but  thine  own  self?  This  is 
a  very  malicious  desire  to  exclude  all  others, 
and  especially  when  thy  profit  and  merit  shall 
not  be  diminished. 

Albeit  there  be  never  so  many  besides  that 
take  commodity  thereby,  I  say  unto  thee,  O 
man,  and  I  assure  thee  that  as  fruitfully  He 
died  for  thee — if  thou  wilt  dispose  thyself  to  be 
partner  of  His  death — as  if  there  had  been  no 


more  but  thyself  in  all  this  world.  Truth  it  is, 
there  be  many  more  besides  thee  that  be 
partners  of  this  death.  But  all  they,  yea,  and 
if  there  were  a  thousand  thousand  times  innu- 
merable more  than  there  be,  all  that  multi- 
tude shall  nothing  diminish  any  one  crumb  of 
merit  of  this  most  blessed  death  belonging  unto 
thee.  And  again,  if  thou  take  much  more  fruit 
thereof  than  any  one  of  them,  yet  shall  they 
take  no  impairment,  or  receive  the  less  because 
thou  hast  so  much. 

Wilt  thou  see  by  some  example  that  this  is 
truth  that  I  now  say  ? 

When  thou  seest  a  torch-light  in  a  house 
where  many  persons  be,  doth  not  that  torch 
give  as  much  light  to  them  all  as  if  there  were 
but  one  person  there  ?  Every  person  after  the 
quickness  of  their  sight,  taketh  more  or  less 
profit  of  that  light  than  doth  another,  but  yet 
he  that  taketh  more  hindereth  his  fellows  nothing 
in  so  taking,  nor  he  that  taketh  less  giveth 
thereby  any  occasion  for  his  fellows  to  take 
any  more. 

And  if  it  be  thus  of  the  light  of  a  torch, 
much  rather  it  is  so  of  the  merit  of  this  most 
gracious  death,  and  of  this  most  precious  blood, 
which   by  the  reason  of  the   Godhead   abun- 

90  U  SERMON  ON  THE  P^SST03^ 

dantly  sufficeth  for  the  redemption  of  innu- 
merable souls,  were  their  sins  never  so  many, 
never  so  horrible,  never  so  abominable. 

Surely,  as  St  John  saith  :  Ipse  est  propi- 
tiaiio  pro  peccatis  nostris,  non  pro  nostris  ta?itum 
sed  et  totius  mundi — "  He  was  and  is  a  sacrifice 
abundantly  sufficient  for  the  sins  of  all  this 

When  then  for  thy  sake,  and  for  thy  love, 
He  suffered  this  most  horrible  death,  which 
was  so  painful  that  the  only  remembrance  of 
it  made  Him  to  sweat  bloody  sweat,  and  that  in 
so  great  abundance  that  it  trickled  down  by 
His  side  unto  the  ground  \  if  the  only  thinking 
of  this  death  was  so  painful,  how  painful  was 
the  suffering  of  the  same  indeed  !  How  might 
He  more  evidently  express  unto  thee  the  love 
of  His  heart  than  by  this  means?  Or  what 
more  might  He  have  done  for  thy  love,  as  He 
sayeth  Himself:  Quid  ultra  facere  debui^  et 
non  feci? — "What  might  I  further  have  done, 
which  I  did  not  for  thy  love  ?  " 

Thou  mayest  then  find  here  in  this  book 
great  matter  for  love. 

Here  is  also  great  matter  of  hope,  and  es- 
pecially to  sinners  that  will  utterly  forsake  their 
sins   and  amend  their   lives  for  Christ  Jesu's 

*  I  John  ii. 


sake.  Doubtless  for  such  He  suffered  this  most 
bitter  death.  I'ro  impiis  Christus  nwrtuus  est. 
"  For  wicked  sinners  Jesus  Christ  died."*  And 
in  another  place  the  same  St  Paul  saith  : 
Christus  Jesus  venit  in  hunc  mundum  salvos 
facere  peccatores — "  Christ  Jesus  came  into  this 
world  to  save  sinners  that  will  amend  their 
lives."  t 

O  Christian  soul,  take  thou  upon  thee  the 
cross  of  penance  and  be  crucified  with  Him, 
and  then  without  doubt  thou  shalt  be  partner  of 
the  merit  of  His  crucifixion  and  of  His  most 
fruitful  Passion. 

What  shall  exclude  thee  from  His  merit  ? 
Almighty  God  the  Father  ?  Nay.  Qui  prop? io 
filio  suo  non  pepercit,  sed pro  nobis  omnibus  tradi- 
dit  illmn^  quo  tnodo  non  cum  illo  nobis  omnia  do- 
nabit?  "  He  that  did  not  spare  His  own  Son,  but 
gave  Him  unto  the  death  for  us  all,  what  shall 
He  deny  us?"  What  greater  evidence  canst 
thou  ask  that  Almighty  God  the  Father  will 
forgive  thy  sin  than  this,  that  He  would  not  for- 
sake to  give  unto  death  His  own  Son  ?  I  say, 
His  own  most  dearly  beloved  Son,  of  whom  He 
said  :  Hie  est  filius  meus  diiectus,  in  quo  mihi 
complactii — "  This  is  My  well-beloved  Son,  in 
Whom  is  all  My  pleasure."     What  greater  evi- 

*  Rom.  V.         t  I  Tim.  i. 

92  ^  SERMON  ON  THE  Py4SSI0:>C 

dence  and  proof  mayest  thou  desire,  that  He 
will  forgive  thy  sins,  than  that  He  would  put 
this  most  inestimable  jewel  into  such  a  danger 
for  thy  sake,  and  send  it  unto  this  most  painful 
and  shameful  and  sorrowful  death  of  the 
cross  ? 

But,  peradventure,  thou  thinkest  that  our 
Saviour,  because  thou  hast  been  so  unkind  unto 
Him,  will  not  receive  thee  unto  His  mercy  ?  I 
say,  therefore,  forsake  thy  sins,  and  accuse  thy 
unkindness,  and  be  sorry  for  it ;  and  doubt  not 
but  He  will  forgive  and  forget  thine  unkindness 
and  receive  thee  again  unto  His  great  mercy. 

St  Bernard  saith  :  "  Who  may  not  be 
ravished  to  hope  and  confidence,  if  he  consider 
the  order  of  our  Lord's  body.  His  head  bowing 
down  to  offer  a  kiss,  His  arms  spread  to  em- 
brace us.  His  hands  bored  through  to  make 
liberal  gifts,  His  side  opened  to  show  unto  us 
the  love  of  His  heart,  His  feet  fastened  with 
nails  that  He  shall  not  start  away  but  abide 
with  us,  and  all  His  body  stretched,  forcing 
Himself  to  give  it  wholly  unto  us  ?  " 

Surely,  O  man,  He  that  would  thus  and 
after  this  manner  exhibit  His  body  unto  thee  on 
the  cross  (if  thou  wilt  endeavour  thee  upon  thy 


part),   He  will  not  refuse  thee  but  take  thee 
unto  His  mercy. 

This  most  precious  blood  that  He  shed  on 
the  cross  crieth  always  mercy  for  sinners  that  do 
thus  return.  And,  therefore,  St  Paul  sayeth  : 
Accessistis  ad  sanguinem  melius  loquefitem  quam 
Abel — '*  Ye  become  and  have  returned  you  unto 
the  blood  that  speaketh  more  graciously  than 
did  the  blood  of  Abel."  The  blood  of  Abel 
cried  vengeance  before  God,  as  Almighty  God 
said  unto  Cain  in  the  Book  of  Genesis : 
Sanguis  Abel  fratris  tui  claviat  ad  vie  vindi- 
dam  de  terra — "  The  blood  of  thy  brother  Abel 
crieth  vengeance  in  Mine  ears  from  the  ground 
where  it  is  shed." 

But  the  most  precious  blood  of  our  Saviour 
Jesu  Christ  crieth  mercy  for  all  sinners  that  do 
repent;  and  our  Saviour  now,  before  the  face  of 
His  Father,  showeth  His  wounds  and  showeth 
His  most  precious  blood,  and  ceaseth  not  to 
procure  mercy  for  them.  This  plainly  doth 
affirm  the  blessed  apostle  St  John  saying  in  this 
manner  :  Filioli,  haec  scribo  vobis  ut  non  peccetis : 
sed  ei  si  quis  peccaverit,  advocatum  habemus  apud 
Patrem  Jesum  Christujii  justum^  et  ipse  est  propi- 
tiatio pro peccatis  nostris,  that  is  to  say,  "Child- 
ren, I  write  these  things  unto  you  to  the  intent 
that  you   should   not  sin.     Nevertheless,  if  it 


fortune  any  man  to  sin,  we  have  an  advocate 
for  us,  Christ  Jesus,  before  the  face  of  His 
Father.  And  He  is  righteous,  and  without  sin, 
and  a  very  satisfaction  for  all  our  sins." 

Who  then  attentively  doth  behold  this  Cruci- 
fix and  verily  believeth  that  on  the  cross  was 
paid  the  ransom  of  all  sinners,  how  may  he  not 
fully  trust  that  if  he  asks  mercy  for  his  sins  they 
shall  be  forgiven  him?  So  that  every  sinner 
may  find  great  matter  and  occasion  of  hope. 

In  the  cross  is  also  matter  of  joy.  Here  is 
occasion  of  such  excessive  joy  that  a  soul  which 
verily  tasteth  it  cannot  but  highly  rejoice  in  the 
same.  And  therefore  St  Paul  did  say  :  Mi/ii 
autem  absit  gloriari  nisi  in  cruce  Domini  Jesu 
Christi — "  God  forbid  that  I  rejoice  in  any 
other  thing  than  in  the  cross  of  our  Lord  Jesus 
Christ."  Here,  doubtless,  is  great  cause  for 
every  true  Christian  man  to  rejoice,  and  speci- 
ally for  three  points. 

The  first  is  that  by  the  death  of  our  Saviour 
on  the  cross  and  shedding  of  His  most  precious 
blood  on  the  cross  we  be  fully  reconciled  to 
Almighty  God  as  often  as  we  do  true  repentance 
with  a  fast  purpose  of  amendment. 

Thus  St  Paul  saith(ad  Col):  Complacuit per 
gum  reconciliare  omnia  in  ipsum  per  sangtiinefn 
crticis — "  It  hath  pleased  God  the  Father  that  by 


His  Son  and  by  His  blood  shed  on  the  cross  all 
should  be  reconciled." 

But  you  will  ask  me  what  meaneth  this  word 
** reconciled"?  It  is  as  much  to  say,  as  to  be  made 
at  one  with  Almighty  God  and  to  be  at  friend- 
ship with  Him,  as  two  men  when  they  have  been 
at  variance  to  be  made  lovers  together  again, 
so  the  displeasure  which  He  had  against  us  for 
our  sin  is  taken  away,  and  His  great  wrath  is 
fully  pacified.  So  where  we  were  by  sin  the 
children  of  the  devil,  now  we  have  recovered  to 
be  made  again  the  children  of  God  and,  con- 
sequently, the  inheritors  of  heaven.  O  thou 
Christian  man,  is  not  here  great  cause  to 
rejoice  ? 

If  thou  hast  a  rich  man  for  thy  father  which 
had  loved  thee  much,  and  he  for  thy  misde- 
meanour had  cast  thee  out  of  his  favour,  and  so 
thou  wert  in  jeopardy  to  lose  thy  inheritance,  if 
by  means  of  a  brother  of  thine  thou  mightest  be 
brought  into  his  favour  again  and  be  taken  for 
his  son  as  thou  wast  before  and  restored  there- 
by to  thine  inheritance,  hadst  thou  not  great 
cause  to  be  joyous  and  rejoice,  that  by  this 
means  thou  hast  recovered  again  thy  father's 
love  with  all  the  commodities  belonging  unto 
the  same  ?  In  like  manner  it  is  of  every  sinner, 
for  he  by  his  lewd  demeanour  and  by  his  sinful 


dealing  hath  so  displeased  his  Father  that  he  is 
cast  out  from  the  favour  of  his  Father,  and  is  in 
peril  to  lose  his  inheritance  which  his  most 
loving  Father  had  provided  for  him. 

Nevertheless,  His  only  begotten  Son,  by  His 
inestimable  goodness  and  charity,  suffering  the 
most  painful  death  of  the  cross  and  shedding 
His  most  precious  blood  for  amends  and  recom- 
pense of  our  ungracious  dealings,  hath  recon- 
ciled us  again,  and  made  us  at  one  with  His 
Father,  and  set  us  at  a  perfect  peace,  concord 
and  unity.  And  this  is  concerning  the  first 

The  second,  by  the  virtue  of  the  cross  and 
of  His  most  blessed  Passion,  the  power  of  our 
enemies  be  much  broken,  for  on  the  cross  our 
Saviour  by  His  death  got  the  victory  upon 
them,  for  the  which  St  Paul  said  :  Expolians 
prina'patus  et  potestates  traduxit  confidenter^ 
triumphans  eos  in  semetipso — "  Christ  Jesus,  spoil- 
ing the  mighty  power  of  the  devil,  hath  openly 
detected  their  frauds,  and  got  a  very  triumph 
of  them  in  His  own  person."  And  therefore 
nothing  is  yet  more  terrible  unto  them  than  the 
sign  of  the  cross.  A  blessed  virgin,  St  Chris- 
tian, had  such  a  confidence  in  the  token  of  the 
cross,  that  when  she  felt  herself  tempted  with 
her  ghostly  enemy,  she  marked  herself  with  the 


same  token,  and  at  every  temptation  she  got  the 
better  of  the  devils  ;  and  by  this  holy  token 
chased  them  away  and  put  them  ever  to  flight. 
Thirdly,  by  the  virtue  of  the  cross  and  of  this 
most  fruitful  death,  our  handwriting  which 
made  most  against  us,  was  clearly  put  out. 
Where  was  it  written  ?  In  the  book  of  our 
own  conscience.  There  is  no  manner  of  sin  that 
we  do,  but  it  is  written  in  the  book  of  our 
conscience.  And  if  we  repent  us  not  of  the 
same  and  be  heartily  sorry  for  it  before  our 
death,  this  book  of  our  conscience  shall  be 
shewed  against  us  in  the  dreadful  day  of 
judgement.  Nevertheless,  if  we  repent  us  and 
confess  us,  and  do  true  repentance  therefor, 
then  by  the  virtue  of  this  Passion  it  shall  be 
scraped  out  of  the  book  of  our  conscience. 
Therefore  St  Paul  calleth  sin  our  own  hand- 
writing: Delevit  quod  adversum  nos  erat,  chirogra- 
phum  decreti  quod  erat  contrariuni  nobis,  et  ipsum 
tulit  de  medio,  affigens  illudcruci — "  Christ  Jesus 
(he  sayeth)  put  out  the  handwriting  of  that 
decree  which  was  against  us,  and  so  withdrew 
it,  fastening  it  unto  the  cross."  When  thou  per- 
ceivest,  O  sinful  creature,  that  by  the  cross  of 
Christ,  and  by  that  most  precious  blood  which 
was  shed  on  the  cross,  thou  art  reconciled 
and  made  at  one  with  God,  and  the  power  of 


thine  enemies  is  greatly  repressed.  And  finally 
thy  sin  which  was  most  against  thee  was 
crucified  on  the  same  cross,  so  that  thou  mayest 
clearly  see  that  here  is  great  matter  of  excessive 
joy  and  to  rejoice  in  the  most  blessed  Crucifix. 

Finally,  in  the  cross  is  also  matter  of  great 
comfort,  when  a  person  hath  deserved  a  great 
open  shame,  and  is  brought  even  to  the  plunge 
of  the  matter,  and  yet  by  the  means  of  help 
he  is  delivered  from  the  same,  is  not  this  his 
deliverance  from  this  open  shame  a  comfort 
unto  him  ?     Yes,  doubtless. 

The  noble  woman  Susanna,  as  the  Prophet 
Daniel  telleth,  albeit  she  was  guiltless,  yet  for 
because  she  would  not  assent  to  the  wretched 
desire  of  two  lewd  priests,  she  was  by  them 
wrongfully  accused  and  put  to  great  shame; 
for  they  wrongfully  slandered  her,  that  she  had 
taken  another  man  besides  her  husband,  and 
that  she  had  committed  adultery.  Neverthe- 
less, when  the  matter  was  tried  by  the  goodness 
of  Almighty  God,  and  she  was  clearly  dis- 
charged from  this  terrible  occasion,  and  clearly 
delivered  from  this  shame,  it  was  a  great  com- 
fort unto  her. 

The  blessed  Magdalen  by  her  wretched 
living  had  deserved  great  shame,  yet  when  she 
came  to  our  Saviour  Christ,  and  wept  at  His 


feet,  and  so  by  His  great  mercy  was  excused  of 
her  shame,  her  heart  was  set  at  a  great  rest  and 
in  great  comfort.  The  woman  of  wliom  the 
Gospel  tellelh,  that  was  taken  in  adultery  by 
her  enemies  and  so  brought  before  our  Saviour 
Christ,  and  there  in  His  presence,  and  before 
all  His  people,  her  shameful  deed  was  pub- 
lished, who  may  think  but  that  she  was  sore 
accombred  with  that  open  shame  ?  but  yet  when 
our  Saviour  had  confounded  her  enemies,  and 
delivered  her  from  that  shame,  she  was  restored 
to  much  ease  and  comfort  of  her  heart.  Why 
tell  I  this  ?  Truly  to  the  intent  that  we  may 
see  great  matter  of  comfort  in  the  cross,  for  we 
sinners  have  deserved  great  shame  for  our 
abominable  sin,  surely  so  great  that  if  we  verily 
knew  the  greatness  of  the  shame  that  we  have 
deserved,  we  might  never  sustain  the  remem- 
brance thereof.  And  yet  that  most  inestimable 
goodness  of  Christ  by  that  horrible  shame  that 
He  suffered  on  the  cross,  delivered  us  from  ever- 
lasting shame.  He  took  there  upon  His  back 
all  the  burthen  of  our  sins.  There  wanted  no 
circumstances  of  horrible  shame,  for  then  the 
death  of  the  cross  was  the  most  shameful 
manner  of  death  that  was  put  to  any  villain. 
It  was  then  the  most  villainous  death  to  be 
hanged  on  the  gibbet  of  the  cross;  and  this 


was  done  in  no  secret  place,  but  high  upon 
an  open  mountain,  that  all  the  people  might 
behold  and  look  upon  Him.  And  He  was 
hanged  there  naked,  and  between  two  thieves, 
as  though  He  was  a  prince  and  captain  of 
misdoers ;  and  against  the  feast  of  Easter, 
when  the  most  number  of  people  did  assemble 
unto  the  temple  of  the  Jews,  nigh  unto  the 
city  of  Jerusalem,  that  all  the  people  might 
commodiously  resort  to  gaze  upon  this  cruel 
spectacle.  This  thing  was  done  also  in  the  open 
day,  for  from  the  midst  of  the  day  He  thus  did 
hang  alive  on  the  cross  by  the  space  of  three 
hours  and  more.  And  all  the  strangers  as  they 
passed  close  by  did  wonder  upon  Him  ;  the 
soldiers  opprobriously  rebuked  Him,  the  priests 
with  words  of  derision  and  mockery  assaulted 
Him,  the  thieves  that  hung  beside  Him  blas- 
phemed Him  ;  finally  all  His  enemies  rejoiced 
in  their  victory  againstHim.  Alas,  what  crea- 
ture might  be  more  shamefully  treated  than  was 
our  Saviour  Christ  Jesu  hanging  thus  on  the 
cross?  A  truth  it  is,  now  the  cross  is  made  hon- 
ourable by  His  death;  but  then,  as  I  said,  it  was 
more  shameful  than  any  gibbet  or  gallows,  or  any 
other  instrument  of  death.  And  moreover,  and 
besides  that.  He  was  hanged  on  the  same  with 
the  utmost  despite  and  villany  that  could  be 


thought  of  or  devised  for  any  creature  to  be 
put  unto.  O  thou  Christian  soul,  Christ  Jesu 
the  Son  of  God  took  upon  Him  all  this  shame 
for  thy  love,  to  the  intent  that  if  thou  wilt 
amend  thy  life  and  forsake  thy  sin  and  do  true 
penance,  thou  shalt  by  His  shame  be  delivered 
from  all  shame.  His  shame  shall  hide  thy 
sins.  He  was  there  naked  and  spoiled  of  all 
His  clothes  to  the  intent  that  thou  shouldest  be 
covered  under  His  mantle  from  thy  shame. 
And  therefore  by  the  Prophet  Ezechiel  He 
saith :  Expandi  cwiictum  ?neum  super  te^  et 
opetm  ignorniniam  hiam — "  I  did  spread  My 
mantle  upon  thee,  and  so  covered  thee  from 
shame."  Let  every  person  here  think  with  them- 
selves what  deeds  they  have  done  worthy  of  great 
shame,  which  if  they  had  come  to  light  and  been 
openly  known,  they  should  have  been  blotted 
with  open  infamy  here  in  this  life,  and  without 
the  special  mercy  of  God  in  the  day  of  judge- 
ment they  should  thereof  have  an  open  shame 
before  all  the  world,  and  finally  in  hell  an  ever- 
lasting shame.  But  from  all  those  shames,  by 
the  gracious  mantle  of  Christ,  many  be  covered. 
He  hath  mercifully  spread  His  mantle  over 
them,  and  kept  them  from  those  importable 
shames.  Of  this  covering  also  the  Prophet 
David  saith  :  Beati,   quorum  tecta  sunt  peccata 


— "  Blessed  are  those  whose  sins  be  covered." 
O  thou  sinful  creature,  if  thou  mightest  see  what 
shame  thou  hast  deserved  for  thy  sin,  thou 
shouldest  reckon  this  a  singular  comfort.  But 
thou  seest  not  the  abomination  of  thy  sin,  and, 
therefore,  thou  perceivest  not  what  shame  thou 
hast  deserved. 

Every  sinner  that  lacketh  the  Hght  of  faith 
neither  considereth  the  greatness  of  his  sin,  nor 
the  presence  of  Almighty  God  which  looketh 
upon  the  same.  He  regardeth  nothing  the 
blessed  angels  which  behold  the  abominable 
conscience  to  their  great  discomfort,  nor  the 
devils,  his  mortal  enemies,  which  be  full  joyous 
of  his  shameful  demeanour.  If  the  sinner 
clearly  considered  all  these  things  (as  they 
be  matter  in  very  deed),  he  would  doubtless 
be  greatly  ashamed  of  himself  and  in  great 
discomfort.  Nevertheless,  a  penitent  soul  that 
is  sore  pressed  and  wrong  with  utter  shame,  Hke 
as  were  the  women  of  whom  I  spoke  before,  I 
mean  Susanna  and  Mary  Magdalen  and  the 
woman  that  was  apprehended  in  adultery ;  I  say, 
such  a  soul  being  holden  in  such  distress  of 
shame,  and  considering  that,  by  the  opprobrious 
and  shameful  death  which  our  Saviour  did 
suffer  on  the  cross,  He  hath  delivered  all  true 


penitent  sinners  from  the  shame  which  He  de- 
served for  their  sins,  and  that  He  thereby  took 
all  their  sins  on  His  own  neck,  hath  great  cause 
(as  me  seemeth)  to  take  a  wonderful  comfort  in 
the  most  blessed  cross.  So  that  here  also  (as  I 
said)  is  great  matter  and  cause  of  very  comfort 
and  of  solace  incomparable.  Wherefore,  to 
conclude  my  tale  as  touching  this  second 
writing,  if  either  love,  or  hope,  or  joy,  or  com- 
fort will  make  us  sing,  here  in  this  book  of  the 
Crucifix  is  great  occasion  of  song.  If  thou  first 
truly  lament  with  Christ,  thou  shalt  after  joyfully 
sing  with  Him,  and  each  of  these  shall  induce 
other ;  hatred  of  sin  shall  bring  into  thy  heart 
the  love  of  Christ,  dread  shall  bring  in  hope, 
sorrow  shall  bring  in  joy,  and  shame  here  taken 
for  thy  sin  shall  bring  into  thy  soul  perpetual 
comfort.  And  thus  much  I  have  said  for  the 
second  writing. 

The  third  writing  that  is  written  in  this 
book  I  said  is  vae,  that  is  to  say  woe  :  vae  be- 
tokeneth  in  Scripture  everlasting  damnation. 
And  doubtless  this  woe  may  such  sinners  here 
read,  that  neither  will  lament  nor  sing  with 
Christ  on  the  cross,  as  He  said  unto  the  Jews  : 
Cecinimus  vobis  et  non  saliastis^  lafnentavimus 
vobis  et  non  planxistis,  that  is  to  say,  "  We  sung 
wnto  you,  and  you  sorrowed  not."     And  soon 


after  the  Gospel  telleth  that  He  reproachfully 
spake  unto  the  cities,  to  which  He  had  shewed 
many  great  miracles,  and  they  for  all  that  did  no 
manner  of  penance  for  their  sins,  to  such  there 
He  terribly  threatened,  saying  :  Vae  tibi  Coro- 
zatn,  vae  tibi  Bethsaida — "  Woe  shall  be  to  thee, 
Bethsaida."  By  this  we  may  learn  that  such 
which  will  not  stir  in  themselves  these  affections 
above  rehearsed,  whereby  they  may  lament  or 
else  sing  with  Christ  on  the  cross,  they  shall 
come  to  everlasting  woe. 

I  say  who  that  will  not  stir  in  their  hearts 
dread,  shame,  sorrow  and  hatred  of  their  sins, 
and  so  truly  lament  with  Jesu,  either  else 
quicken  in  their  hearts  love,  hope,  rejoicing 
and  comfort,  and  so  sing  with  Jesu,  doubtless 
they  shall  come  to  the  woe  of  everlasting  dam- 
nation, which  woe  is  the  third  writing  that,  as 
we  said  before,  is  written  on  the  cross. 

Behold,  O  thou  Christian  soul,  the  extreme 
pains  that  our  Saviour  suffered  on  the  cross  for 
thy  sin.  And  if  thou  wilt  not  by  such  afflic- 
tions, as  I  now  have  rehearsed,  enforce  thyself 
to  be  made  partner  of  the  same  pains  in  this 
life,  thou  shalt  in  the  life  to  come  endure  like 
manner  of  pains,  and  that  everlastingly,  where 
He  suffered  them  on  the  cross  for  a  time. 

Let   us,  therefore,   deeply    consider    what 



pains  He  did  endure  and  suffer  on  the  cross. 
The  first,  when  He  was  crucified  He  was  spoiled 
and  made  naked  of  all  His  clothes,  and  so 
violently  thrown  down  upon  the  hard  timber, 
and  His  hands  and  feet  cruelly  digged  in  with 
nails,  as  He  sayeth  in  Psalm  21  :  Foderunt 
manus  meas  et  pedes  tneos — *'  They  have  digged 
My  hands  and  My  feet."  This  He  suffered  for 
thy  sin,  O  sinful  creature,  and  if  thou  wilt  not 
amend  thy  life  betimes,  thou  shalt  be  spoiled 
of  all  thy  clothes,  and  so  cast  down  into  hell 
upon  a  more  painful  couch  than  was  the  cross. 
The  prophet  Isaias  saith  unto  such  a  sinner : 
Subtus  te  servatur  tinea  et  opera  mentum  tuum 
vermis  * — "  The  moths  that  shall  tear  and  gnaw 
thy  body  shall  lie  under  thee,  and  the  burning 
worms  and  serpents  shall  sprawl  above  thee 
and  dig  away  part  of  thy  body."  O  think 
what  an  horrible  pain  it  were  for  to  lie  in  a  bed 
full  of  snakes,  adders  and  toads,  creeping  and 
sprawling,  and  biting  and  pinching  thee  on 
every  part. 

The  second,  when  our  Saviour  was  reared 
up  aloft  on  the  cross,  that  same  hanging  there 
was  very  painful  unto  Him.     O  what  pain  was 

*  The  Vulgate  text  is :  Subter  te  sternetur  tineaj 
et  operimenium  tuum  erunt  vermes, — Isai.  xiv,  11. 


it  unto  that  most  delicate  and  tender  body  of 
His  to  hang  so  long  in  that  tormentry ! 

But  where  He  did  hang  here  but  for  a  time, 
if  thou  amend  not  thy  life,  thou  shalt  hang 
in  the  gibbet  of  hell  for  evermore.  For  be 
thou  well  assured  that  if  thou  shalt  suffer  for 
thine  own  sins  in  hell,  thou  shalt  suffer  a  more 
grievous  tormentry  than  He  did,  and  that  with- 
out ceasing.  For  as  it  is  said  in  the  Apoca- 
lypse :  Fumus  tormeniorum  ascendet  in  secula  se- 
ctdorum — "The  smoke  of  the  tormentries  of  that 
place  shall  ascend  by  innumerable  worlds,"  that 
is  to  say  without  end.  The  torments  which  He 
suffered  on  the  cross  were  the  nails,  the  thorns, 
the  ropes,  the  scourges,  the  spear  ;  but  the  tor- 
ments that  thou  shalt  suffer,  shall  a  thousand- 
fold pass  them.  Look  how  far  the  malice  and 
wit  of  the  devils  passeth  the  malice  and  wit 
of  the  Jews,  so  far  exceed  the  engines  which 
the  devils  have  conceived  and  forged  for  the 
damned  souls  to  be  tormented,  above  them  that 
the  Jews  maliciously  devised  against  our  Saviour 

The  third,  our  Saviour  endured  an  extreme 
heat  and  fervour,  when  He  for  the  great  afflic- 
tion and  agony  which  He  did  suffer,  was  con- 
strained for  the  grievous  anguish  to  sweat  water 
and  blood.     But   this  heat  is  nothing:  to  the 



heat  of  the  burning  fire  of  hell  which  never 
shall  be  quenched.  Ignis  tile  non  extinguetur  ; 
as  the  Gospel  saith,  "  That  fire  shall  never  be 
quenched.  The  Prophet  Isaias  sayelh;  Quis  ex 
vobts  poterit  habitarc  cu?n  ardoribus  sempiternis  ? 
— "  Which  of  you  may  continually  inhabit  with 
the  heats  that  never  shall  cease  ?" 

0  sinful  creature,  think  with  thyself  the 
largeness  of  these  two  words,  ever  and  never. 
Think  with  thyself  how  painful  it  shall  be  ever 
to  be  in  that  burning  fire,  and  never  to  be 
released  of  thy  pain.  If  thou  shouldest  be 
compelled  to  lie  but  one  night  upon  a  soft 
feather  bed,  I  suppose  thou  wouldest  weary 
thereof?  But  how  weary  shalt  thou  be  ever  to 
lie  stewing  and  burning  without  ceasing  ? 

The  fourth,  our  Saviour  Christ  endured  also 
cold,  not  only  for  His  nakedness,  but  also  when 
His  natural  heat  by  death  left  His  body.  But 
the  damned  sinner  shall  endure  in  hell  a  more 
excessive  cold.  Job  saith  of  such,  Transibiint 
ab  aqiiis  nivis  ad  calorem  nimiuvi — "  They  shall 
be  shifted  out  of  the  cold  snow  and  brought 
into  the  outrageous  heats,"  O  Jesus,  a  tender 
hand  which  in  the  frost  and  snow  hath  been 
made  extreme  cold  and  suddenly  is  brought 
into  the  heat  of  the  fire,  feeleth  a  greater 
pain;  but  nothing  comparable  unto  that  shift- 


ing  Irom  that  cold  into  that  heat  which  is 
in  hell. 

The  fifth,  our  Saviour  on  His  cross  heard 
blasphemous  and  opprobrious  words,  and  much 
insulting  of  His  enemies  against  Him,  which 
doubtless  was  very  painful  unto  Him.  But  the 
damned  sinners  shall  in  hell  hear  nothing  else 
but  continual  outcries,  opprobrious  insulting,  blas- 
phemies of  the  devils  and  others  that  be  damned. 

Blasphetnabunt  Deu?Jt  coeli doloribus — "They 
shall  blaspheme  the  God  of  heaven  for  con- 
tinual pain  and  sorrows."  And  they  shall  see 
before  their  faces  continually  the  most  horrible 
and  ireful  countenance  of  their  immortal 
enemies  the  devils. 

The  sixth,  our  Saviour  wept  on  the  cross 
for  the  sins  of  others,  as  St  Paul  saith  :  Cum 
clamort  et  lacrymis — **  With  crying  and  tears." 
But  the  damned  sinners  that  would  not  here 
weep  with  Christ,  such  tears  as  might  wash 
their  sins,  shall  weep  in  hell  for  their  own  sins, 
such  tears  as  shall  scald  their  bodies,  and  yet 
they  shall  be  never  the  better.  Ibi  erit  fletus 
et  stridor  dentium — '*  There  shall  be  weeping  and 
gnashing  of  teeth,"  the  smoke  of  the  fire  shall 
make  them  weep,  and  the  coldness  of  the 
snow  shall  make  their  teeth  gnash  and  chatter 
in  their  heads. 



Yea,  and  that  is  more  marvellous,  neither 
the  cold  shall  temper  the  heat,  nor  contrari- 
wise, the  heat  temper  the  cold,  but  either 
of  them  shall  increase  the  violence  of  the 
other.  Even  as  in  the  forge  of  a  smith,  the 
cold  water  when  it  is  cast  into  the  fire  causeth 
the  fire  to  be  much  more  fierce  and  violent. 
The  seventh,  our  Saviour  on  the  cross  had 
extreme  dryness,  of  which  He  complained  and 
said:  Sitio — **  1  am  dry";  and  no  marvel 
though  He  were  dry,  after  so  much  pain  and 
travail,  after  so  much  bleeding  and  sweating, 
whereby  no  moisture  almost  was  left  in  His 
body.  But  how  unmeasurable  dryness  shall 
the  damned  souls  endure  in  the  fire  of  hell  ? 
The  rich  glutton  that  was  buried  in  hell 
teacheth  us  what  dryness  is  there,  for  he  would 
have  given  all  this  world  to  have  had  one  drop 
of  water  or  liquor  to  have  refreshed  his  tongue, 
that  was  made  so  dry  with  the  flame  of  that  fire. 

The  eighth,  our  Saviour  on  the  cross  had 
much  sorrow  and  heaviness.  If  He  for  the 
only  remembrance  of  the  pain  to  come  was 
in  so  great  an  agony  that  He  sweat  water  and 
blood,  who  can  express  or  think  what  sorrow 
and  heaviness  He  suffered  when  all  the  pains 
were  present  and  presently  did  oppress  Him. 
Nevertheless   every   damned    person,    by    the 


reason  of  their  continual  and  everlasting  pains 
shall  have  much  more  sorrow  and  heaviness, 
for  the  which  it  is  written  in  the  book  of 
Sapience :  Fenitenttafn  agenUs  et  pre  iristitia 
spiritus  gementes — "They  verily  lamentably  re- 
pent themselves,  and  for  extreme  heaviness  of 
spirit  mourn  and  sorrow,"  thinking  for  how  brief 
and  transitory  pleasures  they  lost  the  joys 
everlasting  and  got  the  pains  that  ever  shall 

The  ninth,  our  Saviour  on  the  cross  did 
suffer  much  infamy  and  shame,  and  specially  to 
deliver  (as  I  said)  all  sinners  that  would  amend 
themselves,  and  forsake  their  sins,  from  ever- 
lasting shame  ;  but  such  as  will  not,  shall  suffer 
their  own  shame,  as  they  have  deserved.  The 
true  penitent  soul  shall  be  satiate  with  perpetual 
glory,  but  he  that  will  not  repent  himself  shall 
have  perpetual  shame  and  infamy. 

Almighty  God  sayeth  to  such  by  his  prophet 
Nahum  :  Revelabo  pudenda  iua  in  facie  tua  :  "  I 
will  make  open  all  thy  shamefuiness  and  evil 
dealing  in  thine  own  face."  And  the  prophet 
Jeremy  sayeth  :  Saiurabitur  oppiobriis — "  He 
shall   be  satiate  with   opprobrious  shame." 

The  tenth,  above  all  other  pains  that  our 
Saviour  did  suffer  on  the  cross,  was  to  be  deso- 
late of  all  comfort,  yea  of  His  Father,  and  to  be 


as  a  person  forsaken  of  Almighty  God,  and 
destitute  of  all  help  and  succour,  for  which  He 
sore  complaineth  on  His  cross,  crying  unto  His 
Father  :  Deus  meus,  Deus  mens,  ut  quid  derdi- 
quisttmel — "  O  my  God,  O  my  God,  why  hast 
Thou  forsaken  Me?"  But  this  forsaking  was 
but  for  a  season,  for  within  a  short  time  after, 
He  was  raised  again  to  immortal  glory.  But 
the  damned  sinners,  which  shall  be  punished 
for  their  own  sins  in  hell,  shall  ever  be  forsaken, 
and  fully  be  deprived,  not  only  from  all  joy 
and  comfort,  but  from  that  most  glorious  sight 
of  the  face  of  Almighty  God,  wherein  standeth 
all  blessedness  and  consummation  of  all  com- 
fort ;  and  this  shall  more  pinch  the  damned 
souls,  than  all  the  other  torments  of  hell 
besides.  For  the  which  St.  Chrysostom  saith  : 
Ego  autem  multo  graviores  cruciatus  diw,  quam 
gehennam^  removeri  et  adduci  ab  ilia  gloria — "  I 
think,  saith  he,  that  to  be  removed  and  cast  out 
from  that  everlasting  glory,  is  more  grievous 
torment  than  all  the  other  pains  of  hell." 

Finally,  our  Saviour  on  the  cross  suffered 
the  pains  of  death  for  our  sins,  whereby  we  had 
deserved  death  ;  and  therefore  He  suffered  death 
to  deliver  us  from  the  death  of  sin.  Neverthe- 
less He  remained  no  long  time  in  the  bonds 
of  death  ;  but  the  damned  sinner  that  must  pay 


his  own  debts  in  hell,  shall  suffer  everlasting 
death,  not  so  that  the  sinners  shall  have  no  life 
nor  feeling  in  them,  but  they  shall  be  ever  as 
though  they  were  in  the  extreme  pains  of  death, 
and  yet  they  shall  have  a  perfect  sense  of  the 
pains,  and  never  die.  The  pains  shall  be  to 
them  so  violent  that  they  shall  perish  a  thou- 
sand times,  and  desire  continually  to  die,  but 
death  shall  fly  away  from  them.  Desidcrabunt 
mori^  et  mors  fugiet  ab  eis — "They  shall  desire 
death,  and  death  shall  fly  from  them." 

O  Jesu,  in  what  misery  they  shall  be  in,  that 
ever  shall  covet  death,  and  never  may  fully  die. 

The  prophet  David,  speaking  of  their  pain 
sayeth  :  Mors  depascet  eos ;  which  words  may 
have  three  senses,  one  is  that  death  shall  be 
their  pastor  and  herdsman,  he  shall  order  them 
and  lead  them  to  their  pastures.  In  hell  are 
two  pastures  :  the  one  is  full  of  snow,  the  other 
full  of  fire,  for  which  Job  sayeth,  Ad  calorem 
nimiufu  transient  ab  aquts  niviuni — "  They  shall 
walk  from  the  snow  into  the  fire,  and  again 
from  the  fire  into  the  snow."  This  may  be  one 
sense.  Another  may  be  this  :  they  shall  be  the 
continued  meat  of  death,  as  ye  see  in  the 
pastures  where  the  sheep  feed.  They  crop  the 
grass  ever  as  it  riseth  and  keepeth  it  low,  and  so 
the  grass  is  ever  in  eating,  and  never  full  eaten. 


In  like  manner  death  shall  continually  crop 
the  damned  persons  in  hell  ;  and  he  shall  ever 
be  gnawing  and  eating  upon  them,  and  yet  they 
shall  never  be  fully  consumed. 

The  third  sense  may  be  this  :  death  shall 
be  their  continual  meat,  for  they  shall  ever  long 
and  desire  to  die,  they  shall  ever  above  all 
other  things  covet  to  have  death,  and  their 
desire  shall  always  be  alike  fresh  and  fervent. 
Another  comfort  and  refreshing  besides  this 
they  shall  have  none.  But  whatsoever  the  sense 
of  these  words  be,  thou  mayest  well  perceive 
by  them,  O  thou  Christian  soul,  that  if  thou 
shalt  come  to  that  place  to  pay  thy  debts  of 
thine  own  sins,  it  shall  be  too  grievous  and  too 
importable  for  thee  to  sustain;  for,  as  I  said, 
behold  every  manner  of  pain  our  Saviour  Christ 
suffered  on  the  cross  for  all  our  sins,  if  we 
be  not  before  our  death  by  such  affections  as 
I  did  before  rehearse  made  partners  of  His 
suffering,  we  shall  suffer  all  the  same  pains 
in  hell  perpetually. 

And  therefore,  it  is  a  truth,  we  may  read  in 
the  book  of  the  Crucifix  great  matter  of  woe, 
which  is  the  third  writing  that  we  had  to 
speak  of. 

Now,  thou  sinful  creature,  have  often  before 
thine  eyes  this  wonderful  book,  which,  as  I  said, 


is  written  within  and  without.  In  the  which 
also  thou  mayest  read  three  manner  of  writings, 
that  is  to  say,  lamentation,  song,  and  woe.  If 
thou  wilt  begin  to  lament  with  Jesu,  thou  shalt 
thereby  come  to  sing  with  Him,  and  thereby 
thou  shalt  be  made  so  fully  partner  of  His 
passion  that  the  debts  of  thy  sins  shall  be 
thoroughly  paid,  and  thou  shalt  escape  ever- 
lasting woe.  But  if  thou  dost  refuse  this 
remedy,  and  follow  the  desires  of  this  world, 
and  of  the  flesh,  be  thou  well  assured  that 
then  thou  shalt  pay  thine  own  debts  amongst 
the  devils  in  hell  with  everlasting  woe.  From 
the  which  He  defend  us,  that  for  our  love  has 
this  day  suffered  on  the  cross  His  most  pain- 
ful and  sorrowful  death,  our  Saviour  Christ 
Jesus.     Amen. 

Per  Johannem  Fyssher  Episcopum  Rofensem. 

The  memory  of  the  Crucified  crucifies  vices. 
(St  Greg.) 

Let  him  who  is  bitten  by  the  wiles  of  Satan 
behold  Christ  hanging  on  the  cross.     (St  Aug.) 


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